A two-month investigation into the circumstances surrounding the post-mortem examination of the judge BH Loya at the department of forensic medicine at Nagpur’s Government Medical College has uncovered chilling new facts. The post-mortem examination was directed by a doctor who dictated what details were included in and excluded from Loya’s post-mortem report—and who was later investigated by the GMC over complaints of manipulating numerous post-mortems. The doctor has succeeded in keeping his name from appearing in any medical documents related to the post-mortem, or any court documents in the Loya case. He also managed to avoid any media coverage of his enormous role behind the scenes of the case—until now.
According to official records, Loya’s post-mortem was conducted by Dr NK Tumram, then a lecturer in the forensic-medicine department at the GMC. In fact, the post-mortem was led by Dr Makarand Vyawahare, then a professor in the department and now the head of the forensic department at a separate institution, the Indira Gandhi Government Medical College, also in Nagpur. Vyawahare is a member of the powerful Maharashtra Medical Council, the supervisory body for all medical practitioners in the state. He is known in his professional circles primarily for the power he wields as a result of his political connections—Vyawahare is the brother-in-law of Sudhir Mungantiwar, the finance minister of Maharashtra, who is practically the number two in the BJP-led state government under Devendra Fadnavis.
Vyawahare showed extraordinary interest in Loya’s corpse. According to those employees interviewed for the investigation who were present during the post-mortem, he personally participated in and directed the post-mortem examination—even shouting down a junior doctor who tried to question him during the examination of Loya’s head, the back of which had a wound. Vyawahare made certain that the report made no mention of this crucial and glaring fact. The document stated that Loya’s death was caused by a heart attack. It is evident from the investigation that there was a concerted effort to conceal any observations that could raise suspicions regarding the cause of Loya’s death, and that Vyawahare led the cover-up during the post-mortem examination.
These grievous charges gain additional credibility from the fact that various employees of the GMC told me they witnessed numerous instances in which Vyawahare manipulated post-mortem examinations and falsified reports. The GMC’s investigation of Vyawahare, in 2015, came after vocal protests against his practices by resident doctors and medical students at the institution.
The Caravan’s new investigation, which reveals the role of a hitherto unknown doctor who successfully hid crucial facts such as a wound on Loya’s head, calls into question the trustworthiness of the entire post-mortem examination, and so casts doubt on the whole of the official version of the cause of Loya’s death. Soon after The Caravanfirst reported the suspicions of Loya’s family, in November 2017, a chart purportedly from an ECG test conducted on the judge shortly before his death found its way to select media outlets, which published it as evidence that he died of a heart attack. Various discrepancies in the document were pointed out on social media. The state of Maharashtra, while arguing against the need for an independent inquiry into Loya’s death, chose not to produce the ECG chart before the Supreme Court. That left the post-mortem report prepared at the GMC as the most important medical document to support the state of Maharashtra’s argument that Loya died of natural causes. Now, the entire exercise of the post-mortem examination itself fails to stand up to scrutiny.