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Hostage in coma holds key
- Inquiries into kidnap-for-ransom peter out at victim’s hospital bed

For the police, it’s a one-off case, involving an endless wait for someone to come out of a coma. Their only clue to a ghastly abduction-for-ransom case is not yet dead, but doctors attending him cannot say when, if at all, he will be able to sit up and tell the sleuths what they want to know.

Mithun Koley, son of a Dum Dum trader and abducted from Salt Lake, to be discovered later in an unconcious state on the Nilratan Sircar (NRS) Medical College and Hospital campus, spent another day in a coma on Monday, forcing police to strengthen their watch around their only answer to one of the most intriguing cases in recent history.

Plainclothes policemen were deputed at the private hospital in Salt Lake where Mithun, 22, abducted on November 10, is battling for life in the intensive care unit, North 24-Parganas police officials said. “We are leaving nothing to chance and security has been beefed up to ensure his safety at the hospital,” additional superintendent of police Ajay Nand said. Hospital officials have been instructed not to provide any information on Mithun’s condition over phone to anyone.

Officials, however, admit that they are still in the dark for clues to the motive and method of the attack on Mithun. Both Calcutta Police and West Bengal Police, investigating the case separately, have propounded some initial theories about the motive. “But all the leads come back to Mithun, and only he will be able to confirm our findings and provide the breakthrough,” Nand said.

But hospital sources, quoting medical reports, confirmed that Mithun was in an extremely critical state. A deep cut on the skull and being strangulated for some time have damaged his brain.

The initial theory floated by Entally police says Koley was severely beaten up before his body was dumped behind the gynaecology ward of NRS. “It was easier for the assailants to carry a profusely-bleeding body to the hospital and dump it there, as people would only think they were taking an injured person to hospital,” an official of Entally police station said.

According to Nand, police were probing the connection between a woman — seen with Mithun outside a restaurant near Salt Lake stadium on the evening of November 10, before he went missing — and the crime. “We are also probing the family-feud angle,” he said.

According to Salt Lake police, simply ransom may not have been the motive. “If Mithun was taken for money, the abductors would have waited for his family to arrange for the money,” an official said. “He was abandoned half-dead just three days after his abduction,” he pointed out.

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