On 15 April, in a case before the Delhi High Court for an independent investigation into the death of the farmer Navreet Singh, the Delhi Police submitted a medical report on his X-ray plates that is inconsistent with his post-mortem report. In compliance with the high court’s previous order, the Delhi government had constituted a medical board, comprised of three senior doctors from the Maulana Azad Medical College, to examine the X-ray plates of Navreet’s injuries and submit a report. The MAMC medical board’s opinion submitted on 5 April noted that the X-rays showed “fractures of the skull and facial bones,” and that there was “no metallic radio-opacity suggestive of foreign body.” In effect, the report supported the Delhi Police’s narrative that Navreet had not been shot, and died by a road accident. But these findings are inconsistent with Navreet’s post-mortem report, and conspicuous by their omissions.
Two senior government doctors, with decades of experience in government institutes, studied both documents and spoke to us—one on the record and the other off the record and willing to speak to a court or a government investigation, if required. The doctors said that the post-mortem described wounds that clearly revealed bullet injuries, and that claims in the medical report were false or misleading. They said that Navreet’s injuries were gunshot wounds and that the medical board’s X-ray report had ignored significant details mentioned in the post-mortem. The doctors also said that Navreet’s details were written on the X-ray plates with a white marker, noting that this was a significant deviation from standard practice—a fact acknowledged in the medical report as well.
“The injuries shown in the post-mortem and their nature, size, margins and site cannot be termed to have been caused by an accidental fall from a moving tractor,” Dr Pyare Lal Garg, a former professor of surgery, who was the dean at the faculty of medical sciences in Chandigarh’s Panjab University, said. Garg added that the injuries would have been caused by a “same size weapon.” He also noted that the post-mortem report has “no mention of the fracture of the skull bones and facial bones” as recorded in the X-ray report. He explained that the post-mortem report must “record any visible or palpable fracture, and if not, then one has to record that same shall be opined after X-ray,” which the post-mortem report does not reflect.