An Army jawan who had figured in a sting operation by a news website criticising the 'sahayak' (orderly) system last month was found dead in mysterious conditions in an abandoned barrack in Deolali Cantonment in Maharashtra on Thursday.
Roy Mathew, a gunner, was found hanging from the ceiling of a room. Doctors said 33-year-old Mathew, whose body was decomposed, might have died three days ago.
The Army has reportedly said the jawan committed suicide and that he had been missing since February 25. Mathew, a native of Kerala's Kollam district, was also believed to be "mentally disturbed." Mathew was facing an inquiry after the sting operation was posted online, sources said.
Police sources said Mathew, who had served the Army for around 13 years, was among several jawans in Deolali seen in the video which featured soldiers walking dogs of officers and taking their children to school. The sting operation had sparked an uproar against the British-era sahayak system.
It is being probed if Mathew, who was attached for 'buddy duties' with a Colonel rank officer posted as an additional officer at the Artillery Centre in Deolali, had felt tortured or harassed after appearing in the video," said a police source, adding that after the video was widely circulated on various social media platforms, Mathew was questioned by several officials.
The source said Mathew had run away from the unit on February 25 and had remained missing since. "He had come under huge pressure," the source added. On being contacted, the Army, however, said Mathew had gone "AWOL (absent without official leave)" within 24 hours of the video being aired on February 24.