The 23-year-old gang rape victim was “brain dead” even before she was shifted to Singapore for treatment on 27 December, people familiar with the case say.

“She was airlifted to Singapore on Wednesday night. However, her brain had already stopped functioning before she was sent there,” a source who was present at Safdarjung Hospital during her treatment said.

According to officials, a CT scan that was conducted after she reached Singapore showed blood loss to her brain, which was most probably caused on 25 December night when she suffered a cardiac arrest. “During this period the doctors at Safdarjung were not able to find her pulse or blood pressure,” sources said.

The cardiac arrest led to cerebral edema or swelling of the brain. In this condition the content of water in the brain rises, and cuts off oxygen supply to the brain as blood vessels get squeezed.

The sudden midnight transfer of the victim has been questioned by even the medical fraternity. The Indian Medical Association (IMA), after the death of the girl, had sought the reasons behind shifting the girl and asked whether the transfer was done purely for medical reasons or due to some other factors.

“It doesn’t seem that the shifting was done for a medical reason. The shifting should have been done in keeping the victim’s health in mind. I don’t think that there was any reason to move her out at that stage, our hospitals are well equipped to handle such cases,” said Narendra Saini, honorary secretary general of the apex body.

He added there should be some guidelines based on certain parameters to handle cases where the shifting of the patient is required. “An independent body consisting of experts should be constituted. The IMA is ready to be a part of that body,” Dr Saini said.

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