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Plot thickens over metro death

Matthew Warren · 12 Oct 2011, 07:53

Published: 12 Oct 2011 12:02 GMT+02:00
Updated: 12 Oct 2011 07:53 GMT+02:00

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New evidence has cast doubt on the story of a 33-year-old Indian man who died after going to the aid of a woman being mugged on a metro train.


In the incident on September 29th, it was widely believed that Rajinder Singh, known to his friends as Babu, had intervened when he saw a woman being mugged for her mobile phone.

After struggling with the alleged mugger on the platform at the metro station Crimée, Singh then fell or was pushed onto the tracks and died immediately from electrocution.

The story provoked a wave of tributes from online readers, commentators and even government ministers. The transport minister and culture minister both paid homage to the dead man at a makeshift shrine in the metro station.

The man suspected of being the mugger was arrested a few days later but the subsequent inquiry has produced a different story of what took place.

Newspaper 20 Minutes quoted a magistrate for the prosecution as saying that there was no mugging attempt on the night in question. Instead, the man arrested, a 22-year-old Egyptian known only as Mohamed, was offering sweets to young women, causing Singh to get up to ask him to stop.

"Then everyone got out at the station," said the source. "A fight started between the victim and the accused. They both pushed each other. Then, Babu punched Mohamed while holding him firmly by the arm. Mohamed pushed back at Babu, making him fall onto the tracks."

The lawyer for Mohamed F, Augustin d'Olline, has also been giving media a similar version of events. 

"Babu went for him and my client, to defend himself, pushed back fairly forcefully as he'd been attacked forcefully by Babu who was much bigger than him," he told BFM TV. "Unfortunately, Babu went backwards a few metres and fell on the train tracks."

Mohamed F has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, according to Le Figaro newspaper, and is being held in detention.



Matthew Warren (news.france@thelocal.com)

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