A 70-year-old ex-serviceman committed suicide by consuming poison at Janpath on Tuesday night, allegedly over the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme, triggering a political firestorm and leading to dramatic scenes at the Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital where police detained Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia.
Doctors at RML said that ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal was “brought dead to the hospital at 1.45 am last night”, while the victim’s associates claimed that he had consumed “Salfas tablets” at around 1.30 am after being allegedly denied permission to meet defence minister Manohar Parrikar to hand over a petition on implementing the OROP scheme.
On Wednesday morning, police prevented Congress vice-president Gandhi from entering the hospital to meet the victim’s family and detained Sisodia at the premises. Later, police detained Gandhi, too, and took both leaders to the Mandir Marg police station. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal was later detained at the Lady Hardinge Hospital where Grewal’s body had been taken around 7.30 am for post-mortem. While Kejriwal was confined in his car for hours outside the hospital, Gandhi was detained again later while trying to meet Grewal’s family. Police also detained some of Grewal’s family members, including his two sons, other retired servicemen and Congress leaders Randeep Singh Surjewala and Kiran Chaudhary. They were held at different police stations in the city for a few hours before being allowed to leave.
While Gandhi and Kejriwal lashed out at the Centre over the suicide, police action and OROP issue, defence minister Parrikar expressed his “heartfelt condolences” over Grewal’s death and said that he has asked his ministry to provide him with details. Union minister VK Singh, however, questioned the “mental state” of the ex-serviceman who committed suicide.