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Tourist dies after falling from hotel window

(Top) Sobhan Goswami’s picture on his voter card; and (below) Chalet Hotel as seen from the Chowrastha. Two of the hotel’s nine rooms face the Chowrastha, a popular tourist spot

Darjeeling, Dec. 2: A tourist staying at a Chowrastha hotel fell off a grille-less window of his room while admiring the view last evening and landed on an iron gate with spikes that pierced his head, killing him on the spot.

Sobhan Goswami, a 43-year-old businessman from Bharat Nagar in Siliguri, is suspected to have fallen on the tin roof of a structure before hitting the iron gate on the boundary wall of a plot adjacent to the hotel.

Sobhan arrived here yesterday along with his brother-in-law Susapan Adhikary for a day-long trip.

“We had thought of leaving Darjeeling around 5pm yesterday but then my brother-in-law (Sobhan) decided to stay back for the night,” said Adhikary, also from Siliguri.

The duo checked in at Hotel Chalet in Chowrastha around 1.30pm and the room rent was Rs 700 for a night, hotel sources said.

“In the evening, we took a stroll around Chowrastha and returned to the hotel around 8.30pm. I was in my bed when he (Sobhan) called me to tell me that the view from our room was stunning. I got up from the bed to see the landscape. I had only taken two steps towards the window when I saw him losing balance and he fell off the window,” Adhikary said.

All nine rooms in the hotel have large bay windows without any grille.

The hotel is located on the top floor of a building that has a bookstore on the ground floor. From Chowrastha, two rooms on the first floor of the hotel can be seen.

On the northern side, the hotel has three floors. A two-storeyed structure with a tin roof was attached to the hotel building later.

(Top) The window from which Sobhan fell off on Sunday evening. He hit the tin roof of a two-storeyed structure below the window, bounced off and landed on the iron gate with spikes (picture above). Pictures by Suman Tamang

Sources said Sobhan fell from a height of around 50ft.

A dent on the attached structure’s tin roof below the window suggests that Sobhan fell on it, bounced off and landed on the iron gate with spikes.

Police sources said Sobhan was drunk.

“It seems that the deceased had brandy during the day. We have found a bottle of brandy in the hotel room that was almost empty. According to our initial investigation, his brother-in-law was not drinking,” said a police officer.

The police have seized the bottle and a case of unnatural death has been registered.

“Had there been a grille, nothing would have happened. The hotel needs to put it up for the safety of people,” Adhikary said.

The hotel employees said they would put grilles in the windows immediately. “The hotel, which has been functional since the 1980s, has never reported such an accident,” said an employee.

Only two were occupied yesterday.

“The deceased person was very friendly and it seemed that he enjoyed the band performances at Chowrastha,” he added. Local bands performed at Chowrastha yesterday afternoon on World AIDS Day.