Jawri Mal Bishnoi, a joint director in the Rajkot office of the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), died by suicide on Saturday, hours after being arrested by the CBI for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 5 lakh.
“He was rushed to a hospital but succumbed to his injuries,” Raju Bhargav, Rajkot commissioner of police (CP), told to sources.
Following Bishnoi’s death, a man named Sanjay, who claimed to be his younger brother and had arrived from Rajasthan, accused CBI officials of withholding information from the family and petitioned Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot for assistance, alleging that his brother had been “murdered.”
The incident occurred around 9.45 a.m. at the DGFT office opposite the Rajkot Rural Superintendent of Police office near Girnar Talkies on Race Course Ring Road, according to the police. Following his arrest on Friday evening, the CBI was searching the DGFT office as well as Bishnoi’s residences in Rajkot and his native place.
“He was rushed to the Rajkot civil hospital where he succumbed to his injuries while undergoing treatment,” an officer of the Pradyuman Nagar police station said, adding that Bishnoi was pronounced dead at 10.28 am.
The CBI arrested the 44-year-old Indian Trade Service (ITS) officer late Friday evening after he was allegedly caught “red-handed” accepting a Rs 5 lakh bribe from an exporter. According to officials, the CBI set a trap after registering a case based on a complaint filed by a businessman involved in the food can export business. According to the CBI, the businessman submitted six files to the DGFT containing documents pertaining to periodic food can exports. However, Bishnoi allegedly demanded a bribe of Rs 9 lakh from the exporter in order to issue the complainant a no-objection certificate (NOC).
The CBI said the complainant needed the DGFT NOC for getting his bank guarantee worth Rs 50 lakh released. “It was also alleged that the accused demanded an amount of Rs 5 lakh towards first instalment and asked the complainant to deliver the remaining amount at the time of handing over of NOC,” the CBI had said in a release on Friday.
Rajkot Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone-2) Sudhir Desai said the incident took place when the overnight searches by the CBI were on at the DGFT office on Saturday morning. “A case of accidental death has been registered in this connection and an enquiry has been launched. Because the deceased was in the custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation, Pradyuman Nagar police has initiated the process of informing relevant authorities about the incident,” Desai said, adding that the police will also record the statements of the CBI officers as the incident took place in their presence.
Meanwhile, Sanjay, who said he hails from Khajuwala in Rajasthan’s Bikaner district, confronted one of the CBI officers outside the emergency ward of the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Government Hospital, known as Rajkot Civil Hospital, where Bishnoi was taken. “Mar diya hamare aadmi ko… Kyun mara inko…Kyan le liya tumne… (You killed our man…Why did you kill him… What did you achieve?)” Sanjay was heard shouting, before local police personnel intervened. Later, the CBI officers were taken to Pradyuman Nagar police station.
DCP Desai said that Bishnoi’s family members behaved “aggressively and angrily” and that is why the police had to intervene. “They behaved aggressively and angrily at the Civil Hospital. However, a police team which remains deployed permanently at the police chowky in the hospital took the CBI team members inside,” the DCP said.
Talking to the media, Sanjay alleged that his brother was murdered. “We came to know that the CBI has conducted a raid. It is okay. There is nothing (incriminating) in our residence. Nor has anything been recovered from our residence. If they have recovered anything, they should show it… The raid happened at 7 pm (Friday) and then I received a phone call that a bad thing had happened…Where did they keep him overnight? What did they do to him? Who had detained him? What is the matter?… I demand that our Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot come here and help us… We are residents of Rajasthan and there is a BJP government in Gujarat,” Sanjay alleged.
He also demanded that the CBI officers be booked under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code on murder charges. “I accuse the Gujarat government and home department, I accuse the Union Home Ministry and Amit Shah (Union Home Minister). If you are honest, book these CBI officers under Section 302,” he said.
Sanjay also referred to the 2014 death of Justice B H Loya, the CBI Special Judge in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case. “Suspicious deaths, CBI has caused so many deaths, but no cases have been made out,” he further alleged.
Talking to The Indian Express, Sanjay said, “Some CBI officers restricted the movement of my brother’s family, which includes his wife and two minor children, and did not even allow them to make phone calls. Somehow, my nephew, who is around 15, managed to ring me at around 8 pm yesterday and said that four-five people have restrained them. So I came to Rajkot by road…The CBI is giving us no details,” he said.
When asked about his photos with top Congress leaders, Sanjay said, “People back the party of their choice. I do not hold any Congress office. I am seeking help from the Rajasthan CM only because we are from Rajasthan.”