May 01, 2012 at 01:59pm IST

Loitam involved in IPL brawl: Minister

BANGALORE: In connection with the mysterious death of the Manipuri student Richard Loitam, Home Minister R Ashok on Monday said he was punched on his face following a brawl over an IPL match. “On April 15, Richard Loitam and his friend had met with an accident. Though he was treated at Sapthagiri Hospital, he was said have be endrowsy even after two days,” said Ashok.
Loitam was said to have been involved in a quarrel with two of his hostel mates, Vishal and Syed Afzal Ali, when the trio were watching an IPL match on April 18.
Ashok said, “Investigations have revealed that Loitam died due to brain haemorrhage. Police are questioning Vishal and Syed Afzal. The case will be solved once the postmortem report is out.”
Richard Loitam, a student of Acharya’s NRV School of Architecture (ASArch) in Soladevanahalli, was found dead under mysterious circumstances in his hostel room on April 18. The students  from north-east region had staged a protest on Sunday seeking ‘justice for Loitam’.
College Committee  to Help Police Meanwhile, the college authorities stated they are cooperating with the police in connection with the case.
“Police have carried out several rounds of investigations and questioned students, faculty and hostel authorities. We are supporting all such activities so as to ascertain the exact reasons which led to the death of Loitam,” a release from the institution stated.
Access to the hostel, identification of eye witnesses and also the names of students who are involved in the tiff have been provided to the police.
“We have formed a committee comprising faculty and management representatives to enable further investigation,” the release from the college said.
Police Waiting for  Medical Reports
The Bangalore Rural police have clarified that there were no lapses in the investigations. They said they were waiting for the medical reports to decide on the future course of action.
Superintendent of Police Dr Prakash told reporters that Madanayakanahalli police had booked an unnatural death case under section 174(C) of the CrPC.
“The postmortem reports indicate that Loitam died due to brain hemorrhage. But it is not clear whether he died due to injuries he had sustained in an accident or due to physical assault from his hostelmates a few hours before he died. His viscera has been sent for medical and forensic tests and we are waiting for the reports to draw conclusions,” Prakash explained.
He, however, denied the allegations that the police were trying to hush up the case. “We can know the exact cause only after we receive medical and forensic reports,” Prakash added.
Meanwhile, sources said that the postmortem preliminary report suggested that Loitam had died five hours after he had his dinner. “According to his friends’ statements, Loitam had dinner around 8 pm. In the postmortem, it is clear that the food was half-digested and roughly he died around 1 am. A DySp has arrived from Manipur and we have  submitted the report to him to ensure transparency,” Prakash revealed.
Police Version
Explaining the sequence of incidents, Prakash said, “On April 15, Loitam and his friend Spoorthi Ranjan had taken another student Vishal Banerjee’s Scooty Pep Plus (KA-04-ES-2602) and had gone out. On the way, Loitam had lost control over the vehicle and fell down. The vehicle was damaged and he had sustained injuries in the accident.”
“On April 17, Banerjee, questioned Loitam about the damage to his vehicle. This resulted in an altercation and in a fit of rage, Loitam assaulted Vishal. Meanwhile, Syed Afzal Ali, an MBA student, intervened and punched Loitam on his left eyebrow for attacking Banerjee. On that night, Loitam went to his room (No 225) and informed his roommates Nikhil and Saurabh that doctor had advised him a week’s rest and he would not be attending classes.”
“On April 18 afternoon, Saurabh noticed Loitam sleeping and tried to wake him up. When he did not respond, he noticed blood oozing out of his nose and mouth. He informed hostel supervisor Sudhakar about it. The supervisor rushed to the spot with the college doctor, who examined Loitam and confirmed his death.”
Sudhakar registered a case with the police. Loitam’s father Dr Loitam Rajesh Kumar Singh also filed a case on April 20, Prakash said.