Padam Gurung Death Case : ‘It was accidental death says report’ tells CS

Padam Gurung Death Case : 'It was accidental death says report' tells CS
Padam Gurung Death Case : 'It was accidental death says report' tells CS
Padam Gurung Death Case : ‘It was accidental death says report’ tells CS

Gangtok, November 2 (IPR): Chief Secretary Shri V.B. Pathak addressed a press conference here at Tashiling Secretariat today, with regard to the findings of the inquiry report submitted by former Chief Justice, High Court of Sikkim, Justice Narendra Kumar Jain. The report focused on the unfortunate demise of Shri Padam Gurung, the Student Representative Council President of Sikkim Government College, Kamrang under Namchi district.
It may be recalled that the State Government had constituted a one-man Judicial Inquiry Commission headed by Justice Narendra Kumar Jain to conduct judicial inquiry into the unnatural death of the student leader. The report was submitted to Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang at Mintokgang yesterday, the 1st of November, 2023.
During the press conference today, Chief Secretary Shri V.B. Pathak informed that the inquiry report submitted by Justice Jain concludes the death of Shri Padam Gurung, President, SRC, Government College, Kamrang, under Namchi district on the intervening night of 27-28 June, 2023 as an accidental death.
Further, the series of recommendations put forth by the Commission are as under:
1. A departmental inquiry should be initiated against Sub Inspector, Shri Siddarth Subba, the Investigating Officer of UD Case No. 22/2023, Police Station, Namchi district, and against Deputy Superintendent of Police, Ms. Dawa Lhamu Pakhrin, the then SHO, Namchi Police Station. During the contemplated pending inquiry, both the involved officers should be suspended immediately.
2. A show cause notice may also be issued demanding explanation from the then Superintendent of Police, Namchi district, Shri Manish Kumar Verma, IPS for failure of his supervisory duty.
3. The Senior Superintendent of Police, Namchi district, and/or the Investigating Officer of FIR No. 55/2023, Namchi Police Station may be directed to proceed further and complete the investigation of FIR No. 55/2023 under section 188 and section 336 of the IPC and section 77 of the Juvenile Justice Act 2015 against Shri Keshav Thatal, owner of Hotel Crossroads, as early as possible.
4. An amount of Rs. 25 lakh may be paid to the legal heirs of late Padam Gurung as ex-gratia payment.
The Chief Secretary informed that the Commission, during the enquiry, had examined 102 witnesses and a total of 167 exhibits were also put on record which have been handed over to the State Government. He added that the State Government, after approving the report, has immediately put SI Shri Siddarth Subba and DSP, Ms. Dawa Lhamu Pakhrin, under suspension and a departmental inquiry has been instituted.
Further, the State Government will be shortly appointing Inquiry Officer as well as Presenting Officer for taking up this case further. A show cause notice has also been issued to Shri Manish Kumar Verma for failure in his supervisory duty during the investigation of this case. The Police Department has been directed to immediately initiate necessary action for taking up a case against owner of Hotel Crossroads, Shri Keshav Thatal, under sections 188 and 336 of IPC and section 77 of the Juvenile Justice Act 2015.
Replying to queries raised by the press fraternity over the grounds for suspension of the two police officers, Sikkim’s Director General of Police, Shri A.K. Singh, who was also in attendance for the conference, emphasised that the primary shortcomings in the handling of the case were procedural in nature. He stated that the involved officers had contravened section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CRPC) and Para 36.2 of the Sikkim Police Manual. These legal provisions outline the prescribed procedures for conducting an inquest in such cases.
He further clarified that the procedural deficiencies identified were unrelated to the cause of the Shri Padam Gurung’s demise. It is important to note that the reported cause of death was asphyxia due to drowning.
The press conference was also attended by Secretary, Home Department, Smt Tashi Cho Cho, Secretary, IPR Department, Ms. Karma D. Youtso, and Secretary, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Department, Shri Suraj Chettri.