BENGALURU: A 17-year-old son of a retired Indian Army personnel was found dead with a gunshot wound in his head, caused by his father’s licensed pistol, at the Air Force School Bus Stop in Sadashivnagar in the early hours of Friday.
Morning walkers, who noticed the body lying in a pool of blood with the pistol by his side, alerted the police. The deceased, Rahul Bhandari -- son of Havildar (Retd) Bhagat Singh Bhandari, was a resident of adjoining Gangenahalli.
Rahul regularly went for morning walks, and on Friday, he took the weapon from a cabinet and left home around 3.30 am without telling his family. He sat at the bus-stop for over two hours before shooting himself dead. “He has done it between 5.30 am and 6 am. The pistol was recovered from the spot. A single bullet has been fired, which pierced the right temple of his head and exited from the left,” police said.
He was behaving strangely: Victim's mother
Soon after the police were alerted, a Hoysala patrol team reached the spot. They found Rahul’s mobile phone ringing continuously and answered the call. It was his mother desperately trying to reach him. The police asked Rahul’s parents and elder sister to come to the bus-stop. Senior police officers, including Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) MN Anuchet, inspected the spot, while the forensic team conducted a spot mahazar and recovered evidence.
The police handed over the 3.2mm pistol and a pack of cartridges in a pouch to the forensics team. As part of the probe, the investigators also recovered some notes from Rahul’s room in his house. The reason behind Rahul’s suicide is yet to be ascertained, but his mother told the police that he had been behaving strangely for the last few months. Around midnight on Friday, he kept asking for his old photograph. When she told him it was too late and asked him to sleep, he went into his room to read.
They did not notice him leaving the house. The mother said that Rahul was taken for counselling, as he used to lock himself in the room and not talk to his friends, relatives or neighbours. Whenever he received calls, he would hand over the phone to his parents. His mother said the family did not pressure him to study as he was serious about academics. “We are verifying his phone call records to understand whether he was under any stress,” an investigating officer said.
The body was shifted to MS Ramaiah Hospital for postmortem. Rahul’s father filed a complaint with the Sadashivnagar police stating that he had kept the firearm in the almirah. He possessed the licensed weapon, an Indian Ordnance Factory-made pistol, since his retirement in 2017. The family, which hails from Uttarakhand, had settled in Bengaluru for the last two decades.
(If you are having suicidal thoughts, or are worried about a friend or need emotional support, someone is always there to listen. Call Sneha Foundation - 04424640050 (available 24x7) or iCall, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences' helpline - 9152987821, which is available Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 10 pm).