Thiruvananthapuram: A young navy cadet died of a cardiac arrest early this morning at the Indian Naval Academy (INA) in Kerala. An inquiry has been ordered by the Southern Naval Command.
26-year-old Gudeppa Sooraj was found unconscious and unresponsive at the INA in Ezhimala last evening, by an instructor.
He was taken to the navy hospital and given resuscitation, but he could not be revived. He suffered two cardiac arrests later at another hospital where he was shifted with the assistance of medical experts, according to INA officials. The cadet died around 2:30 am.
His family in Malappuram has alleged harassment. They say Sooraj joined the navy as a sailor at 18 but cleared his exams for officers' training.
But at the academy, he was reportedly dismissed for cheating, after which he took the Navy to court. He was reinstated earlier this year on the court's order. "After the first two months, whenever he would call, he would tell us that he was being troubled mentally," Sooraj's 23-year-old brother Guddeppa Sanoj told NDTV.
In a statement, the academy said this was "definitely a case of accidental death" and denied allegations of harassing Sooraj, but it did confirm the cheating incident.
"On Wednesday, cadet Sooraj was caught cheating in his end of term exam. This malpractice was reported to an internal committee in the afternoon itself. But unfortunately, by 5:30 pm we found the cadet in the unconscious state," said a spokesperson of the naval academy.
Sooraj's family says he was inspired by his father, who served in the Navy for 30 years before retiring in December 2016. "My brother was a responsible man. He always kept saying that he will leave the training academy with an officer's rank, even when he was being harassed," said Mr Sanoj.
Last year, a naval cadet had died at the academy during a physical training session.
The academy said the cadet collapsed at the Stadium during a physical conditioning training session that was supervised by instructors.