The body of P.V. Kiran, 43-year-old dock master of the Calcutta Port Trust, was found in the river on Monday morning.
Missing since Sunday night, when he went to Netaji Subhas Dock, in Kidderpore, to drop off a friend in the pouring rain, Kiran is believed to have drowned after plunging into the Hooghly, behind the wheel of his car.
With no witnesses, police suspect the incident took place around 11.30 pm, when Kiran was taking a turn in his Maruti 800 and lost control.
The body was recovered almost 12 hours later from dock number seven, following which it was sent for post-mortem.
At home, a night of festivity had taken a tragic turn. It was elder son Praveen's birthday and Kiran had invited his friend Captain Mishra to attend the party.
Family members said that around 11 pm, after the party ended, Kiran left his Burdwan Road residence in his car to drop Captain Mishra back to his ship ' DCI-15 (a dredging ship) ' at Kidderpore dock.
Praveen and his brother Kalyan saw their father off, at which time it was raining hard.
Kiran would have turned into the Calcutta Port Trust dock and driven to dock number five, where the dredging ship was anchored. The accident occurred after he dropped off his friend.
Meanwhile, Kiran's parents ' who had arrived from Vizag to take part in the celebrations after Praveen cleared his Higher Secondary exams with flying colours ' started wondering why their son was taking so long to return.
Around 11.30 pm, Kiran's wife Prasanna started calling some of Kiran's colleagues in search of her husband.
'When he still didn't return, we started looking for him. After a two-hour search, Kiran still could not be traced. That's when we informed the police,' said Afsal Ahmed, deputy harbour master, Calcutta Port Trust.
Investigations, however, are still on. An unnatural death case has been registered at the West Port police station and a probe launched.
'It will be too presumptuous to comment about how it happened. We will wait for the post-mortem report to ascertain the cause of death. The car has been found and that will be examined, too,' said Ajay Ranade, deputy police commissioner (port).
Kiran's dock colleagues also feel the accident occurred while he was turning the car.
'He probably lost control and couldn't stop the car as it surged ahead. Since it was raining heavily, it was possible that no one was around,' said Jyotirmoy Ghosh, a harbour master and one of Kiran's close colleagues.
A Calcuttan for the past two decades, Kiran was well-known in the port area. As the word of his disappearance spread on Sunday night, many people were on the lookout.
'He was very jovial and everyone liked him. So, we couldn't believe he would suddenly go missing,' said Dinabandhu Banerjee, president of the Pilot's Guild.