Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Bhutan : ‘Suicide’ reinvestigation sought

9 June, 2008 - The royal Bhutan police (RBP) has requested the Interpol division of Thailand police on June 4 to re-investigate the alleged suicide of Dr Devika Rana, 37, following a written request made by Dr Rana’s siblings.

The police chief, Colonel Kipchu Tshering, told Kuensel that the national central bureau (NCB) in Thimphu contacted Interpol in Bangkok. “We haven’t heard from them yet and it will take some time.” He said that they are yet to inform the foreign ministry regarding the request for a reinvestigation.

The request for a reinvestigation arose because Dr Devika’s siblings are not convinced that she committed suicide or that she was depressed. They feel that some part of the suicide note found in her room was not written by her and want to see all the information before ruling out homicide. “It’s rather prejudicial to call it a suicide after just seeing the body. We don’t hold anyone under suspicion but it doesn’t mean that the case should be ruled as a suicide,” said the eldest brother, Dr T B Rana.

Basant Rana, the youngest among the brothers, wanted to know who the “room mate” was, as reported by The Nation, because Dr Devika lived alone.

Dr Sonam Ngedup, one of the students at Mahidol Univeristy, told Kuensel in a telephone interview that Dr Devika was “okay,” although it was almost a week since he had last seen her. Dr Devika lived on the sixth floor, while Dr Sonam Ngedup lived on the third floor at Rangnam apartment.

Dr Sonam Ngedup said that, on the morning of May 29, before leaving for the airport to catch the flight to Singapore, where he was to attend a conference, Dr Devika’s husband, Dr Krishna Prasad Sharma, came to his room and told him to take care of Dr Devika. “Dr Krishna said that she was not happy and tense but didn’t say why she wasn’t happy.”

At around 11:30 pm, Dr Sonam Ngedup heard a commotion outside his building and learnt from another student Dr Tashi Tenzin about Dr Devika’s death. “We rushed outside. I was shocked and all I remember seeing were the cuts on her arms.”

Dr Sonam Ngedup however feels that, since the door to her room was bolted from the inside, there was no chance for anyone to come inside the room. “She could have jumped off the balcony,” he added.

But Dr Devika’s family members feel that someone with three cuts on her right arm, one deep cut on the left arm and a cut in the throat would not be in a position to jump off the balcony. “If she’d jumped or fallen from the sixth floor, there’d be some external injuries. Her body had no signs of any injury, except for the cuts on her wrists and throat and a fractured left thigh,” said another brother D K Rana.

The forensic expert at Thimphu referral hospital, Dr Pakila Dukpa, who examined the autopsied and embalmed body after it was flown in, confirmed the left thigh fracture and cuts on the body but said that the cuts were superficial and not deep to kill a person.

“We didn’t check for any internal injury because an autopsy was already done in Thailand and are waiting for a complete report from them to get the whole picture.” The report will take about two weeks to reach Bhutan.

Dr Devika’s husband, Dr Krishna Prasad Sharma, said that he is still in shock and grieving the loss of his wife. “It’s nice that an investigation has been initiated, because I never expected that she could commit suicide, as per media reports.”

Dr Sharma said that his wife was stressed because she was working very hard on her course thesis, missing her son and home but that could not be the reason for her to take her life. “It’s not unusual to go through that kind of stress in a medical course.”

He said that, since she was very busy with her thesis, he did not ask her to see him off at the airport when he left her apartment at around 7:45 am to catch his 11:00 am flight.

But, Dr Devika’s family insists that her academic performance wa


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