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New agency handed doctor death probe

Two weeks after senior general surgeon of Ranaghat sub-divisional hospital Chandan Senís body was fished out of a pond, the Nadia police swung into action on Saturday. The District Intelligence Branch (DIB) was given charge of the investigation.

Two officers, led by district intelligence officer (I) Partha Pratim Pal, from the DIB headquarters at Krishnanagar, came to meet Senís family at Baguiati on Saturday afternoon. The officers spoke to Bidisha, the deceasedís wife, and other relatives for three hours.

ďThough the post-mortem report is yet to reach us, we have started our probe. That we have taken the trouble to travel 120 km to reach here means something is wrong with Senís death,Ē said Pal.

Surprisingly, the two officers were the first policemen to have spoken to Bidisha after 15 days of her husbandís death.

Senís body was found floating in the middle of a pond at Nokari, in Ranaghat. The local police said Sen, along with his colleagues, had gone to the hospital head clerkís house for dinner where he allegedly died of a heart attack. A case of unnatural death was registered. Senís body was sent to Calcutta for post-mortem.

Pal said: ďThe local police and we are conducting parallel investigations. We have examined the pond where Senís body was found. Those with whom Sen was last seen alive ó one of his colleagues, the head clerk and an official of the social welfare department ó were also interrogated.Ē

However, Pal refused to divulge details of the probe. ďAt this stage of investigation, it is not possible to say how many people were involved,Ē he said.

The DIB officers said Senís family had picked some holes in the statements recorded by the police.

According to the three people interrogated, Sen had gone missing from the gathering after dinner. So the other invitees went out to look for him. They switched on the headlights of the clerkís Maruti car, parked in front of the house and saw the body floating in the pond nearby.

But Senís relatives point out that the car was parked some distance away from the pond and the headlights could not have been strong enough to reach the middle of the waterbody. Moreover, the water level was much lower than the ground.

Besides, the witnesses claimed they had first noticed the collar of Senís shirt above the water. But Sen was wearing a deep blue shirt and they could not have possibly noticed the dark colour at night, relatives said.

Senís family said on Saturday that on the day he was found dead, they had requested the local police to examine the body for bruises. But the police did not pay heed. It was only the next morning ó seven hours after Senís body was found ó that they carried out the examination. ďBy then, some of the marks could have disappeared from the body, which was left on a slab of ice all night,Ē said Shantanu Banerjee, one of the deceasedís friends.

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