- Was Judge Brijgopal Harkishan Loya’s death ‘foul play’ through induced cardiac arrest?
- Did someone mix a lethal drug in his food or drinks at the wedding party that he attended in Nagpur hours before dying?
- Should the Supreme Court examine these aspects in light of Germany’s infamous Perfect Murder case?
- Should the curious role of Dr Prashant Rathi, Judge Roopesh Rathi and an RSS worker be probed?
Recently, people in Germany were stunned to know the sensational revelations on how a male nurse may have killed over 100 patients in his care by inducing cardiac arrests. This revelation should interest us all in India in the wake of the considerable spotlight on the suspicious death of Judge Loya. So, was Judge Loya’s death a case of perfect murder and should the Supreme Court examine this aspect?
India’s own mysterious deaths and theory of perfect murder
A lot of ‘mysterious’ deaths have claimed several lives of Vyapam accused individuals and witnesses in the past. Who can forget a young journalist from Aaj Tak reporting on the Vyapam case simply collapsing and dying in public view?
Not very long ago, on 30 November 2010, a man called Rajiv Dixit, who was Baba Ramdev’s corporate mentor and founder of Azadi Bachao Andolan as well as being the national secretary of Swabhiman Bharat Andolan also suffered a ‘cardiac arrest’ and died in front of Baba Ramdev’s own eyes. This video of Dixit will give you an idea of just how far he had fallen out with Ramdev because of the latter’s desperation to commercialise the knowledge of ayurveda. In this viral video Dixit is heard saying, “The consequences of following in the footsteps of Ramdev will be disastrous… No saint has ever accumulated wealth. Whoever is in the business of accumulating wealth are not saints.”
A Delhi court had last year banned the publication of Priyanka Pathak-Narain’s book Godman to Tycoon: The Untold Story of Baba Ramdev. Among other things, Narain’s book also covered the death of Dixit. Another author, Bhavdeep Kang too wrote in her book, Gurus – Stories of India’s Leading Babas, that neither was a post-mortem done nor was the media told of Dixit’s passing. Dixit’s cremation was also done by Ramdev and Rajiv’s brother Pradeep.
More recently, the death of Judge BH Loya has been in the spotlight as it has dominated public discourse. The Supreme Court has already agreed to hear a petition seeking an independent SIT probe into his mysterious death. That’s because Judge Loya had died at a time when he was presiding over a politically sensitive case related to the alleged fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and his wife Kauser Bi. BJP President Amit Shah was a key accused in the alleged fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Kauser Bi.
All these mysterious but natural looking deaths had the following things in common:
- These deaths hugely benefitted some very powerful individuals;
- All these were healthy adults with no previous heart ailments.
- Timing of their deaths and places of occurrences were such that medical help was either not available or reached when the victims had already died.
- In all cases, post-mortem was either shoddy, blocked by someone powerful but unseen or not done at all.
The case of induced heart attacks in Germany
The world was shocked recently to learn about the gory details of a German Nurse who killed over 98 patients under his care by administering lethal drugs that caused cardiac arrests. The German government and courts have ordered the exhuming of hundreds of bodies to undertake detailed forensic and histo-pathological tests to confirm the identities of more victims of this serial killer.
A report by the Washington Post on 22 January last week could be an eye opener for the Indian investigative agencies, forensic experts and even the Supreme Court judges hearing the Judge Loya case. Today, the German Court of Law has concluded as facts that heart attacks that appear as normal cardiac arrest, sudden fall in pulse rate, Bradycardia (slow heart rate) and Arrhythmia, which results in cardiovascular collapse can be induced by certain drugs. The German killer nurse admitted to using three drugs in particular but we have no reason to believe that there could not be many more drugs that may be used to cause cardiac arrest or brain hemorrhage.
A perfect murder would entail administering a lethal dose of drug/drugs to unsuspecting victims through water or food (quantity as less as 10 gms is sufficient). These drugs can attack the cardiovascular system of an individual at least 3 to 6 hours after its ingestion presenting symptoms like heart burn and uneasiness, sweating, palpitation and could also result in cardiovascular collapse leading to the death of a person.
In this perfect murder, symptoms presented to onlookers and even to doctors could in reality be that of a cardiac arrest. If the patient is taken on ECG, he or she will present exact reading of Arrhythmia or uncontrolled heartbeat. Physiologically, the body goes through a fatal cardiovascular collapse except that it was induced by the murderer approximately three to six hours before.
It is a perfect murder because the post mortem report, even if done honestly, will not show any signs of external or internal injury and the body would show all signs of myocardial infarction commonly known as heart attack. Histo-pathological routine tests will not show any signs of poisoning because these drugs are not listed as poison but they are legal cardiac drugs.
Two killer drugs known to be used to induce heart attacks
While there could be many such medical drugs that, if used in lethal quantities, can induce heart attacks and brain hemorrhage, we have dwelt upon only two of the drugs that were used frequently by the ‘killer’ nurse in the incident mentioned above. They are Ajmaline and Lidocaine.
We refer to authentic research data base of US National Library of Medicine & National Institutes of Health. That the overdose could kill and induce heart attacks is well documented in these medical publications.
Here’s what the US National Library of Medicine says about Ajmaline;
Seven cases of acute ajmaline overdose admitted over a 3 year period to a polyvalent intensive care unit are reported. The severity of this condition is related to the membrane stabilising and depolarising effects of ajmaline on the myocardium. The dose ingested varied from 10 to 40 mg/kg. The delay between ingestion and hospital admission ranged from 3 to 6 1/2 hours. The first cardiac disturbances can appear one hour after ingestion. Three cardiac arrests and one hypovolemic shock occurred. Three atrioventricular blocks, six intraventricular blocks, three ventricular tachycardias, and six prolongations of the QT interval were observed. Serum ajmaline levels varied from 0,8 to 6 mg/l. Symptomatic therapy was mainly based on sodium, temporary cardiac pacing, external DC shock, sympathomimetics and external cardiac massage with assisted ventilation. Cardiac bypass should be a part of the therapeutic arsenal. Elimination of the drug is assisted by a complete digestive evacuation. Renal or extrarenal dialysis is not indicated. One of the seven patients died. Prophylaxis is based on the non-prescription of ajmaline for benign cardiac disturbances.
On Lidocaine, the USNLM website says;
The death of a 76-year-old man with heart disease as a result of the injection of an excessive dose of lidocaine is presented. The patient was given 5 ml of 10% lidocaine hydrochloride (500 mg) intravenously instead of 2.5 ml of 2% lidocaine hydrochloride (50mg) in order to treat repeated paroxysmal ventricular arrhythmia. Immediately following the injection the patient had tonic clonic seizures and complete cardiopulmonary arrest followed. Although resuscitation attempts once successfully restarted his pulse and spontaneous respiration, the patient died on the eighth day after the injection. Toxicological examinations were carried out on the tissues obtained at the time of autopsy and which had been fixed in formalin solution for 40 days, and lidocaine was detected in each tissue examined. The concentrations were (ng/g or ml): parietal lobe, 308.0; occipital lobe, 208.7; temporal lobe, 318.0; frontal lobe, 223.2; cerebellum 200.9; pons 285.7; liver, 109.5; kidney 52.2; skeletal muscle 127.0; and formalin solution 8.4. In an experiment on rats we determined the concentration changes of lidocaine in formalin fixed tissues. The concentrations of lidocaine in these tissues significantly decreased to 1/3-1/4 from the original. This data shows that the cause of death was poisoning by lidocaine overdose.
Was Judge Loya’s death also a case of perfect murder?
- One common occurrence in almost all suspicious deaths, ranging from Ramdev’s former mentor to Vyapam victims and now Judge Loya, has been how they all appeared to have suffered from cardiac arrests at odd hours or places , wherein medical help was either denied or deliberately delayed.
- Another striking feature of these deaths was that someone always ended up successfully managing to either block the postmortem (as in Rajiv Dixit case) or have someone ‘favourable’ supervise the post-mortem ( as in Judge Loya’s case wherein complete access of the deceased’s body was given to one Dr Prashant Rathi, who had no legal authority to be present during the post mortem.) A report by the Caravan magazine said that an ‘inquest panchnama prepared at Sitabuldi police station’ said that ‘the relative of the deceased, Dr Prashant Bajrang Rati, recognised the face of the deceased to be that of Brijmohan Harkishan Loya on seeing his face..’ A copy of Rathi’s statement to the police, which is attached with the Sadar report, however, shows him saying Loya is ‘relative of my uncle.’ But Rathi in December, had reportedly told the Caravan magazine that he did not even know Loya saab adding that he had never met the judge and “never had any contact with him.”
- Shoddy documentation and video recording of a hasty post-mortem are another hallmark of such plots. In most cases, video recordings will not be done or preserved.
- Since these medicines (Ajmaline and Lidocaine) are legal cadiac drugs, their presence in pathological reports raises no suspicion.
- Invariably, there is someone coaxing to dispose-off the body in quick haste which buries all evidences forever except the VISCERA (Serum extract of dead body for histo-pathological tests.)
- Family says that the person was healthy and had no previous ailment and that there were threats issued to the person’s life. They suspect foul play and are scared of another similar death in the family.
Suspicious role of two Rathis and one RSS worker in Judge Loya’s death?
Someone called Judge Loya’s cousin at approximately 6 AM in the morning. That so-called cousin called up Dr Prashant Rathi but not Loya’s wife or sister or children. Strange because he should have informed and spoken to family members and offer his help. Only four judges were with Judge Loya from 4 AM to his death at 6.15 AM. Which of them called Judge Loya’s cousin?
In Judge Loya’s case, if there was foul play, then Dr Prashant Rathi, who has appeared from nowhere and controlled the entire process of post-mortem should have been made a prime suspect. Also, who decided that cremation will be in Latur and not Mumbai? Because Mumbai was where his immediate family resided and a place which presented yet another opportunity for second post-mortem as per the family’s request. There was a call placed for Ishwar Beheti, an RSS worker, in Latur to assist the process of quick cremation. Who made that call and in which capacity?
Someone called Ishwar Beheti, an RSS worker, in Latur, who later was found in the possession of Judge Loya’s phone, which the family claims to have been tampered with. Who called Ishwar Beheti, should also be probed by examining call records. Even Loya’s sister was surprised as to “why, how and when he (Beheti) came to know about the death of Brij Loya.”
Access to the deceased’s body was given to a person, who was not an authorised next of kin. He was indeed the most proactive person, who was present during the post-mortem and was filing a police complaint on behalf of the deceased’s family without anyone having the courage to question him to prove his relationship to the deceased.
Video and photographs of the wedding party that Judge Loya attended, could be used as evidence to show who occupied the seat next to the deceased and had a chance to possibly mix a lethal drug in his food or drinks. Was Dr Rathi also present at the wedding? This must be re-examined in light of incredible inconsistencies of Dr Rathi’s statements.
Four judges took Judge Loya to an insignificant Dande Hospital, which operates from the first floor. Did they ever visit Dande hospital before? Considering a hospital on the first floor without a lift facility was an awful decision to take a suspected heart attack patient unless they were familiar with that hospital. Why was Loya not taken directly to Meditrina hospital? Why were no efforts made to take Loya to Wockhardt Heart Hospital, the best in Nagpur, since it was only 6 minutes away from Dande hospital and 4 kms away from Ravi Bhavan guest house, where Judge Loya was staying.
Phone call records of these judges, Dr Prashant Rathi and Ishwar Beheti hold the key to many puzzles. Even the call records of the doctor, who performed the post-mortem could prove collusion, if any.
Last week The Caravan magazine reported how the four judges, namely Shrikant Kulkarni, SM Modak, VC Barde and Roopesh Rathi, had submitted statements in the Supreme Court as part of the Maharashtra government’s submission in the case. These judges claimed that they were with Loya in his last hours. These documents also included one handwritten statement given by Rathi, who says he was working in Nagpur in 2014. Rathi’s statement said that the ECG machine at Dande Hospital was not working when Loya was taken there on the night he died.
Rathi’s statement, according to The Caravan magazine, also confirmed that Dande Hospital “was on 1st floor and so we all climbed stairs and went there. One assistant doctor was present there. Mr. Loya complained about severe chest pain. His face was sweating & he was continually telling about more chest pain and heart burn. At that time the doctor tried to do his ECG but the nodes of ECG machine were broken. Doctor tried and wasted some time but machine was not working.”
Now this is where the plot appears to thicken. Did Judge Roopesh Rathi know Dr Prashant Rathi? What’s their relation and how come both happened to be at the same place when Judge Loya’s health deteriorated? Why were both taking keen interest in Loya’s death given that there’s already plenty of suspicion on Dr Rathi’s role?
These are some of the questions that don’t make sense and the top court ought to seek answers to, while hearing the case.