The death of a 65-year-old preacher from Malaysia remains shrouded in controversy as the exact cause of his death is not known in the absence of his swab test. While the local authorities conducted his post-mortem, they didn’t look interested in his swab test.

The preacher identified as Md Khairani Bin Lookman had reached Araria district in Bihar on 21 March along with eight others and died four days later on March 26. He had landed in Delhi on 6 March.

Officials said the Muslim preacher was offering prayers at a local mosque when he suddenly fell unconscious. He was instantly rushed to a local government hospital where the doctors declared him having brought dead.

Reports said the soon after his death, the senior health officials wanted his swab test conducted to confirm if he was infected with the deadly Coronavirus but the local administration opted for his post-mortem only.

“The post-mortem report said he had natural death. His swab test was not conducted,” Araria district magistrate Prashanth Kumar CH told The Statesman by phone today. He didn’t explain why his swab test was not conducted.

According to local civil surgeon Dr Madan Mohan Prasad Singh, the preacher died of “cardiac arrest”. “The local doctors who conducted his post-mortem found him quite healthy and were of opinion that he may not have corona but we can’t confirm the exact cause of his death since his swab test was not conducted,” Dr Singh said.

He said soon after his death, the health department sent three of total eight persons accompanying the dead to the nearby Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) for the test but the hospital authorities sent them back saying they didn’t have any symptoms of corona disease.

“Now we have sent the swab samples of all the eight persons accompanying the Malaysian preacher to Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences, Patna for test on 2 April. The test reports are yet to come,” the civil surgeon said.

At present, all the eight persons have been kept under home quarantine at the local Araria mosque.