The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Family frets over missing man

Purulia, April 10: It’s one family reunion they didn’t plan. In tears, the close relatives of missing Purulia industrialist Naresh Agarwal have gathered at his Jhalda home to console each other and offer moral support.

“What else can we do except come together and pray for Bhaiyya’s safe return,” said Naresh’s younger brother Bishnu. The authorities are still not calling it a kidnap case, but the family fails to see what else could have happened.

“He is of sound mind, in very good terms with the rest of the family members and has not had any serious problems at work. We don’t see any other possibility but abduction,” Bishnu said.

But seven days have elapsed since Naresh last made a call to a business associate in Calcutta around 1.45 pm on Friday, while travelling by car to Durgapur. The vehicle was found abandoned late that evening at Mohamadbazar in Birbhum. There was no trace of either him or his driver, Sahadev Kundu, who has worked for him for over four years.

“This silence is affecting all of us. We can’t understand why the kidnappers are not communicating. It’s very unnerving,” Bishnu said. “Bhaiyya is a very popular person. Besides being involved on a daily basis with social work and donations, he is also the state president of the All-India Marwari Yuva Manch. In the 1989 municipality elections in Jhalda, he secured 86.8 per cent votes while contesting as an Independent,” he said.

Considering all this, and the fact that Naresh’s Kushal Polysack Industries is the only downstream project of Haldia Petrochemicals in Purulia, several persons feel the police and the administration should do more to find out his whereabouts. “When Khadim’s boss Partha Pratim Roy Burman was kidnapped, a high-level task force was set up by the home department to facilitate investigation. Why can’t they do something like that'” asked a Purulia-based businessman.

“There is no communication whatsoever, either over phone or through letters, from his abductors, assuming this to be a case of kidnapping,” said district superintendent of police V.K. Goyal today. “The district police and the state CID are working jointly and will do everything to unravel this mystery,” Goyal said.

CID officials have been in Purulia since Tuesday, meeting people and interrogating close associates. Among them is marketing manager of Kushal Polysack Industries Manish Khaitan, the second-last person Naresh spoke to from his car.

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