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Medical student slashes wrists
- Cops hunt for clues in fourth suicide bid at R.G. Kar

Madhusudan Sau, February 1999. Saumitra Biswas, August 2001. Arijit Datta, February 2003. Praveen Gupta, February 2003. The list of students of R.G. Kar Medical College and Hospital, striving to end, rather than make, their lives is growing alarmingly. And the last in line might not be an open-and-shut case, after all.

Praveen Gupta, unlike the rest, failed in his suicide attempt on Sunday. The fourth-year student of the college and boarder of the Lal Mohan Hostel at Maniktala tried to slash both his wrists when most of his hostel-mates were, apparently, fast asleep.

But the decision to slash both his wrists — medical opinion on this was most sceptical — was not the only thing about Sunday’s attempted suicide that baffled investigators. Gupta’s fellow-students, including his room-mates, appeared reluctant to divulge any details and told the police that they knew nothing about the suicide bid.

A “note written to his girlfriend” was recovered from Gupta’s possession, Amherst Street police station officials said. The contents led the cops to believe that failed matters of the heart had caused the medical student’s “depression”. But what Metro learnt from some of his close friends during the day suggested otherwise.

“Gupta was a cheerful fellow and we, at least, did not have a clue that he was depressed,” one of them said.

“We could never have imagined him attempting suicide,” observed another classmate.

Later in the day, officiating deputy commissioner of police (north) R.K. Adhikari said investigations were underway to find out anything else besides the suicide theory. “The doctors have mentioned self-inflicting injuries on his wrists, for which Gupta can be booked. So, if there is more to it, I am sure he will confide in us to save himself,” Adhikari said.

The police are also waiting for Gupta’s father to arrive from Haryana. It was learnt that in a recent letter to his son, he had urged the R.G. Kar student to “keep his mind away from other things” and concentrate on his work. “His father can tell us what was bothering the student,” said a sleuth.

Incidentally, the “suicide” of Saumitra Biswas had initially been passed off as one caused by a failed affair. It was his mother, Sabita Biswas, with the help of the Medical Service Centre, who rubbished the theory.

Allegations of a sex-and-videotape racket, being run by a section of hostel inmates, then did the rounds as Biswas’ mother went public with her “belief” that her son had been murdered after he had threatened to expose the sleaze racket in R.G. Kar. The murmurs grew louder after Arijit Datta “took his own life” earlier this month.

“Saumitra’s death was an eye-opener,” an R.G. Kar student said. “Even though Praveen Gupta looks like he is going to pull through, the critical question now is whether he will be able to reveal the true story. With this latest mishap, the shadows over the medical college have lengthened and there is a general sense of unease,” he added.

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