The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Clout cloud over 30-month hunt
- Court frowns on delay to find missing man

Where has Arghya Sengupta gone'

Two-and-a-half years after the 26-year-old man went missing under mysterious circumstances from Belgachhia, Calcutta High Court on Monday directed the police not to close the file for at least five more years and, instead, hunt for clues to help crack the case.

“It is true that the police, in order to find the son of the petitioner, have not interrogated the political heavyweights (whose names have cropped up in connection with the case). But the fact remains that the police have not been able to fish out any clue on the basis whereof the investigating officer could interrogate such political heavyweights,” observed Justice Barin Ghosh, in his three-page judgment.

Justice Ghosh’s observation turns the spotlight back on a mysterious disappearance, shrouded in family rivalry and power play. The court has asked both the police and the petitioner to look for clues that could allow for the interrogation of the “political heavyweights” — including a state minister — to shed some light on the case.

Arghya stepped out of his Belgachhia home on June 11, 2001, never to return. His father, Biswa Pradip Sengupta, a retired government employee, initially put it down to marital discord. “He must have quarrelled with his wife (Madhuri) again… I’m sure he’ll be back soon,” he had then assured his wife Tapati. But there’s been no word of their son for the past 30 months.

Within a few months of their marriage in 1999, the relationship between Arghya and Madhuri soured. “He had once told me that his in-laws had warned him not to contemplate divorcing Madhuri. They had even threatened to kill him if he decided to walk out of the marriage. But I never imagined something like this could actually happen,” said Sengupta, clutching on to grandson Subhadeep, who was an infant when his father went missing.

When repeated attempts to trace Arghya — by the family, the police and a private detective agency — failed, the Senguptas decided to move court.

In a habeas corpus filed before the trial bench of Calcutta High Court, lawyer Subroto Mookherjee, representing the Senguptas, alleged that Arghya’s disappearance had been engineered by his influential in-laws. “True to their (the in-laws) threats, Arghya has been abducted by them. The police are not doing their job properly,” stated Mookherjee.

Abha Roy, representing the police, said the force had done all it could to trace Arghya, but both his parents and his in-laws had not provided enough leads to pursue. “One of the parties (Arghya’s parents) has claimed that political bigwigs might be behind the disappearance, but they haven’t given us any clue that could help us interrogate the politicians,” Roy added.

The Senguptas have written to chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, seeking his intervention. The chief minister’s office has asked police to pursue the mystery of the missing man to its logical end.

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