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Santipur Businessman Missing After His Maruti Plunged Into River

2016-09-07 18:30

Police removing the car from river Hooghly Picture by Abhi Ghosh



Santipur, Sept. 7: A 34 year old Sari manufacturer from Nadia’s Santipur went missing under mysterious circumstances during the wee hours of Wednesday morning after his Maruti Swift plunged into the river Hooghly while crossing the river on a barge.

Although, the boatmen present at the ghat claimed to have rescued the sari manufacturer from the drowning vehicle, but they remained mum about his sudden disappearance. Wife of the missing sari manufacturer suspecting foul play into the matter that has gained ground as the CCTV cameras installed at the ghat was found switched off few minutes before the vehicle plunged into the river.

The incident occurred at Guptipara ferry ghat under Balagarh police station in Hooghly when the businessman accompanied by his driver was returning home in Santipur.

The missing businessman was identified as Toton Roy, a resident of Shyambazar area of Santipur town, who was carrying about Rupees five lakhs with him which he collected from the retailers whom he supplied saris.

Police have recovered the drowned vehicle from the river and detained its driver Raju Saha for interrogation after the sleuths found his statements “inconsistent” and “suspicious”.

The police have initiated an investigation into the matter on the basis of a missing diary lodged by the businessman’s wife Nabanita Roy at the Balagarh police station.

However, the sleuths are still in dark as how the businessman went missing barely within ten minutes since he was rescued from the river as claimed by the boatmen. An underwater search operation also failed to yield any result.

According to family sources, Toton Roy, son of Phanibhusan Roy, who has a taant sari manufacturing unit, left home to collect money from the retailers on Tuesday afternoon.

Toton’s father Phanibhusan Roy said: “He went to meet retailers in different places in Nadia and Hooghly district as he often does to collect money and scheduled to return home Santipur late by evening.  He generally uses IswarGupta Bridge that connects Nadia and Hooghly via Kalyani and Bansberia. It is not clear to me why they were returning so late and decided to cross the Hooghly River on a vessel through Guptipara ferry ghat so late in night”.

Police said that at about 1.45am Toton arrived at the Guptipara ferry ghat. The ferry service was then already suspended. Toton and his driver Raju, a resident of Santipur’s Tilipara area called the barge operator sleeping at the ferry service office. On repeated persuasion by the driver of Toton’s vehicle the boatmen, agreed to provide service.

Kanai Choudhuri, an official of the ferry service operators at Guptipara ghat said: “Our service suspends at 10am in the night. We only provide emergency service to police and ambulance. Lat night the driver of the vehicle misled our on duty ghat manager Amrita Mahalder by saying that a senior police officer of Santipur police station was in his car and needed to attend duty positively by 3am. The manager could not dare to check his credential and agreed to provide the service”.

Police said, after the boatmen prepared the motor operated barge, the Maruti swift boarded it. But within few minutes it plunged into the river being hit allegedly by a potato laden mini truck from behind that also boarded the vessel.

Boatman Bhim Dhar, Mahavir Choudhuri and two others jumped into the river and rescued Totan Roy who was trying to coming out through of the window of the drowning vehicle.

Boatman Bhim Dhar said: “There was a person inside the car and the driver was on the floor of the barge. I advised the driver to pull hand break of the car and to keep it in neutral state. But he was drunk and hurling abusive language. So I ignored him. But as the mini truck boarded the Maruti started moving and gradually it plunged into the river. We then dived into the water and rescued the person inside the vehicle. We brought him to a temple at the ghat, where he also vomited. We later went back to ghat and started the vessel”.

Driver of the swift Raju also confirmed boatmen’s statement.

“I saw them rescuing Toton da. But, I could not find him later. He went missing mysteriously within few minutes”, Raju said.

Toton’s father Phanibhusan Roy and his wife Nabanita, however, have doubts about the statements of Raju and boatmen.

“There is no proof to believe that they are telling truth. The CCTV which could provide authentic evidence to help police was found switched off mysteriously. I suspect a deep conspiracy in which the boatmen and the driver could be involved. Police should interrogate them properly”, wife Nabanita said.

“As the driver had made a ruckus asking for quick service for the purported police officer, our manager Amrit Mahaldar, who was sleeping, inadvertently switched off the power switch of the CCTV while switch on some lights. The matter came to our knowledge only this morning when police sought for CCTV footage”, Ghat official Kanai Choudhuri said.

Officer in charge of Balagarh police station Arun Mitra said: “We have started investigation. We have began searching the trader in adjacent areas, railway tracks and also underwater. The driver is also being interrogated. We are hopeful to get a breakthrough soon”.

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