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Three friends held for booze party murder

Darjeeling, Sept. 2: Police have taken into custody three persons in connection with the murder of their friend Wangdi Bhutia during a farewell bash here on Friday night.

The interrogation of the accused showed that a four-year-old fight that had been sorted out resurfaced at the party, leading to the murder of the 29-year-old construction worker.

Wangdi was beaten to death with iron rods allegedly by four of his friends and the body dumped in a stream at Lower Bhotay busty in Darjeeling on Friday night.

Darjeeling police arrested the main accused, 24-year-old Aditya Rai, from the Siliguri bus terminus last night, while Arvind Pariyar, also 24, surrendered at Bhaktinagar police station early this morning.

Another accused, Sandip Chhetri, 24, was arrested yesterday, hours after Wangdi’s body was found. The fourth friend, Simon Limbu Subba, is at large.

According to the police, Aditya confessed to his involvement in the murder. He reportedly told the police that talk of a four-year-old fight between him and Wangdi cropped up at the party, leading to the murder.

L.T. Bhutia, the inspector in charge of Darjeeling Sadar police station, said: “Aditya was to leave for Kuwait yesterday and before his departure, he decided to treat his four friends, including Wangdi, at his own house (where Aditya was living alone). During a drinking session, old issues resurfaced, leading to an altercation and then the murder.”

According to police sources, Wangdi had beaten up Aditya four years back over some minor issue but both soon patched up.

Bhutia said the friends had dragged Wangdi’s body from Aditya’s house and dumped it in a nearby stream. “A rod smeared with blood was found near the body,” he added.

The accused had also burnt a mattress in an effort to conceal the crime. The police are trying to recover another iron rod.

Police sources said Wangdi’s father, Sonam Tshering Bhutia, was aware that his son had gone to Aditya’s place. “All the five lived in the same locality. When the villagers found Wangdi’s body, they went to Aditya’s house and found blood stains,” said another police officer.

While Sandip had decided to stay back home, Aditya and Arvind had left for Calcutta yesterday early morning.

“We found out that they had train tickets reserved for Calcutta. We had sent one team to the NJP railway station but we were sure that they wouldn’t board the train. Keeping this in mind, we sent another team to the Siliguri bus terminus where they were about to leave for Calcutta,” the inspector in-charge said.

While the police managed to catch Aditya, Arvind fled as it was difficult to catch him given the crowd at the terminus.

He, however, surrendered at Bhaktinagar police station early this morning.

The arrested trio have been remanded in police custody for five days. “The next date of hearing is September 7,” said Pankaj Prasad, assistant public prosecutor.