A suicide note has been recovered from Gudeppa Sooraj, the naval cadet who died in Kannur, in which he has accused some of his trainers at the academy of physically harassing him.
The 26-year-old, who hails from Tirur in Malappuram, died at a hospital in Kannur on Thursday morning after allegedly jumping off a building at Indian Naval Academy in Ezhimala under mysterious circumstances the previous evening.
The content of the suicide note echoes the accusations made by the youth's family that he was "killed" by academy officials who "tortured, humiliated and harassed" him. The Payyanur police, who began the probe as an unnatural death, have also taken a case on INA officers for abetment of suicide.
According to the INA, Sooraj was found in an unconscious and unresponsive state near INA's academic wing by a sailor instructor on Wednesday. He was immediately rushed to the ICU of Indian Naval Hospital "Navjivani" and administered IV Fluid resuscitation. Sooraj was later shifted to the Pariyaram Medical College Hospital. The youth suffered two episodes of cardiac arrest at the hospital and he was declared dead at 2.30 am on Thursday, a Navy release said.
However, his family alleged foul play in the circumstances that led to his death. The relatives said that the authorities at INA had been torturing the cadet, physically and mentally. The cadet's brother Gudeppa Sanoj alleged Sooraj was "hit with hockey sticks, his bones were broken in the name of discipline" and he will never commit suicide. The police registered a case of unnatural death based on their complaint.
Reacting to the allegations, the INA said the accusations were "baseless and the Navy has nothing to hide". The Southern Naval Command has also ordered a board of inquiry into the incident. The Ezhimala Naval Academy said they would cooperate with both investigations.
"The incident is extremely unfortunate. The police and the Naval authorities will carry out independent investigations on their own," sources at the academy said.
Sooraj's family in a statement given to the Payyanur Police has pointed out that the relation between Sooraj and the INA officials was not good. The youth joined the academy as sailor in 2010. Later, he cleared the officers test and was taken in as trainee.
"From then on there was constant friction between Sooraj and the INA officials," his family said.
After completing three years, Sooraj was allegedly caught for cheating in academic examinations and was expelled, against which the cadet moved a court. The court while agreeing with the Navy that it did right in terminating the cadet, asked it to give Sooraj another chance, considering his young age and number of years he had lost out.
In February, the cadet was allowed to join the academy in a fresh batch. However, he was allegedly caught cheating again in the examination held on Wednesday. Before any action was taken, he was found in a serious condition on the floor of the INA's academic wing at 5.30 pm.
Sooraj's father, Gudappa Ramanna, is a retired Naval official who hails from Karnataka, while his mother is from Tirur, Malappuram.
(with PTI inputs)