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Groom back, mystery rules
- Hint of kidnap as bruised youth turns up at UP station

Calcutta, June 3: London-based IBM employee Rajiv Bhattacharya, who mysteriously disappeared from in front of a shop on Ultadanga Main Road on Wednesday, emerged from a train this morning at Mughalsarai station, bruised and disoriented, and “vaguely aware” that he “may have been kidnapped”.

A railway police team, which was scouring the Mumbai Mail stationed at platform no. 3, found him cowering in a coach.

“He was drowsy and there were marks of injury on his back, hands, hips and thighs, and even in his groin,” L.N. Yadav, the inspector-in-charge of Government Railway Police (GRP) at Mughalsarai, said.

After Railway Protection Force officials found him, “he told us he had been beaten black and blue by four persons who he believes may have been his abductors and who were demanding his Salt Lake residence phone number so that they could ask for ransom,” Yadav added.

Bhattacharya was admitted to a hospital in Varanasi. A Calcutta police team has left to bring him back.

Jawed Shamim, the deputy commissioner, eastern suburban division of Calcutta police, however, said Bhattacharya’s account of events “cannot be accepted at face value”. “This is not a case of kidnapping for ransom. There is more to it than meets the eye.”

Contradicting Yadav’s claim that a search team found him in a coach, Shamim said Bhattacharya got off the train himself as it was pulling out of the station and presented himself at the GRP office, requesting that he be sent back to Calcutta.

Bhattacharya had arrived in Calcutta from London on May 29 for his marriage to Suparna Chakraborty, scheduled to have taken place today. It was an arranged marriage that had been fixed in February when he had come down to meet Suparna.

On Wednesday, he left his Salt Lake home to withdraw money from the bank and make purchases. But, after withdrawing the money and some shopping, he disappeared. His driver Gajendra Roy was arrested for reporting the matter “unduly late” to Bhattacharya’s family.

According to the railway police at Mughalsarai, Bhattacharya said after buying slippers and shoes from a shop at Ultadanga, he was walking towards his car when he was suddenly confronted by four armed men who whisked him off in a car before he could raise an alarm.

Once inside, he was beaten up and drugged. When he came around, he found himself on a train, not knowing where he was headed.

“He told us that all the while he was guarded by the four men who would either beat him up, asking for his home number, or drug him to keep him quiet,” said K.P. Singh, a subinspector who was part of the team that claimed to have found him.

“When we found him, he had a blank look on his face and was huddled in one corner of a sleeper coach around 7.30 this morning,” Singh said.

Bhattacharya “seemed to be in great pain and did not want to speak to anyone at all”, added Vijayendra Sharma, the superintendent of railway police, Allahabad.

Sharma met the 31yearold man at Kabir Chowra District Hospital in Varanasi.

At their Salt Lake residence, Bhattacharya’s father Saroj was found this evening instructing decorators to pull down the pandal that had been set up for his son’s wedding.

“My son will return to London on June 13,” he said. “I don’t see any wedding happening now. The important thing for me is to have my son back.”

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