Mumbai: BARC scientist found hanging in helium plant; friend alleges foul play – Free Press Journal

Champalal Prajapat was found hanging in the helium plant inside BARC | FPJ Photo
A 45-year-old scientist working at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in Mankhurd was found hanging in the centre’s helium plant on September 10. The Trombay police have registered an accidental death report and are probing the matter.
Police said the deceased, identified as Champalal Prajapat, Scientist Officer G, Technical Physics Division of BARC, was an expert in superconductors. A native of Sujangarh in Rajasthan, Prajapat had entered BARC from a training school which only selects the best from across the nation.
A close friend of Prajapat has alleged foul play, claiming it to be an unnatural death. “He was called in to work on Ganesh Chaturthi, September 10, though it was a holiday, as he was secretary for an upcoming symposium involving his technical physics division. At 5.08pm, he called his wife and told her he would be home by 5.30pm. When he did not return, a friend was sent to look for him. At 7pm he was found in the helium plant, hanging. His body had turned blue. There was no suicide note found,” added the friend, on condition of anonymity.
“The plant is a high-security and sensitive zone, with CCTV cameras everywhere and his death cannot be simply dismissed. BARC officials are discussing if he was stressed or depressed. Was there tension related to work? A probe is required and if he was already stressed and depressed, why was he given such a big responsibility?” the friend asked, saying many such incidents happen on BARC premises and in its residential quarters. “But in this case, it has happened inside the official premises and the authorities are responsible and answerable,” the friend said.
Siddeshwar Gove, senior police inspector, Trombay police station, confirmed about an accidental death being reported and said, “After he was found, he was moved to a hospital, where he was declared dead. The post mortem report revealed the death was caused by hanging. We took statements from his wife and a witness and found he was under depression. There does not seem to be any foul play, but we are investigating all other angles,” Gove said.
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