The deceased was part of a video on the ‘Sahayak System’ which went viral on social media.
The Indian Army’s Southern Command on Friday virtually blamed the media for the alleged suicide of a whistle-blower soldier who was found dead at the Deolali Cantonment, Nashik last week. The soldier, a gunner, Lance-Naik Roy Mathew, had been reported missing since February 25 and his decomposed body was found hanging from the ceiling of an abandoned barrack.
As investigations started into his death, the Pune-headquartered Southern Command pointed a finger at the media for the incident.
Hailing from Karuvelil, in Kollam, Kerala, he was posted as an orderly attached with a colonel at the Deolali School of Artillery.
In the video, Mathew had reportedly said that higher officials allegedly mistreated their ‘Sahayaks’, and forced them to do petty jobs like polishing shoes, washing clothes and taking their pet dogs for walks.
The alleged sting video, captured through hidden cameras with faces masked, had gone viral on social media networks, as he raised questions on the ‘Sahayak System’.
“Preliminary investigations have now revealed that the suicide may be a result of series of events which were triggered by the media personnel managing to videograph the deceased by asking leading questions on his duties as a buddy without his knowledge,” a defence statement said on Friday.
In his diary which was recovered, Mathew wrote in Malayalam that it was “better to die than face a courtmartial”.
He also penned an apology to his wife, other family members, and the colonel to whom he reported.
Meanwhile, police in Nashik, where Roy’s body was found, are questioning other sepoys of his unit. The journalist who conducted the sting operation may also be questioned, sources said. The cops will also record his wife Fini’s statement to determine what he said in their last phone conversation.