NIZHNY NOVGOROD, August 24 (Itar-Tass) — A pre-investigation check is underway in the Nizhny Novgorod into the suicide of Alexander Khramov, an official at the Volga department of the Gosmorrechnadzor state marine and inland water transport supervisor, the regional department of the Investigation Committee (SK) reported on Wednesday.
The body of Khramov, 59, with a gunshot wound to the head, was found in bushes near Naberezhnaya Fedorovskogo Street in Nizhny Novgorod in the evening of August 22. An ERMA pistol and rounds were found at the scene.
Forensic and ballistic tests are due.
“The man worked at a Rostransnadzor department,” the SK said, adding that the main lead is suicide, committed after the official learnt about his dismissal.
SK spokesman Vladimir Markin confirmed the reports about Khramov’s suicide on Tuesday. “I confirm this information,” the spokesman said, noting that Khramov was a witness in the case over the Bulgaria pleasure boat shipwreck and participated in “investigative actions” about a week ago.
The Bulgaria pleasure boat built in Czechoslovakia in 1955, sank in the Kuibyshev water reservoir on July 10. The ship, headed for Kazan, foundered in a matter of minutes, three kilometers from the shore at a depth of some 22 meters.
There were 201 people on board. Of those 122 died, including 28 children.
Police arrested a number of officials within the case, including director general of the ArgoRechTur company Svetlana Inyakina and senior expert of the Kama branch of the Russian Inland Transport Register Yakov Ivashov on charges of providing services that do not meet the requirements for the safety of the consumers’ life and health.
A criminal probe was also opened against captain of the Arbat bulk carrier Yuri Tuchin and captain of tow ship Dunaisky 66 Alexander Yegorov, who passed the sinking Bulgaria without providing assistance.
According to Rostransnadzor experts’ conclusions, the direct cause was the inflow of water through opened viewports in storm.
The Bulgaria was salvaged in the July 26 operation and towed to a dry dock at the Kuibyshev plant, where a group of investigators carried out a detailed inspection.
On Tuesday, Transport Minister Igor Levitin relieved Vladimir Popov of his duties as deputy head of the director of the Federal Service for Supervision of Transport (Rostransnadzor) in charge of inland water transport, the Ministry’s reported on its website on Tuesday.
Transport Ministry officials denied that Popov’s dismissal was connected with the recent accidents. He was fired after which a check found “shortcomings in the organization of work,” a Transport Ministry official said.