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Executive missing, family sniffs abduction

A 52-year-old sales manager of a private firm having business links with the Northeast has been missing for a fortnight.

Police have started a kidnapping case after the family allegedly received ransom calls and at least one threat text message.

Rajatabha Mukherjee, a resident of Prasanna Kumar Dutta Lane in Shibpur, Howrah, went missing on May 23.

“Like on other days, he had left home for office in the morning of May 23. He would take a launch ride across the Hooghly from Ramkrishnapur Ghat to reach his workplace on Netaji Subhas Road (off Strand Road),” said an officer of Shibpur police station, which is probing the case.

Mukherjee’s elder daughter Ronita used to call up her father everyday after he reached office.

“When I tried his number on May 23, his phone was switched off. We tried to establish contact with him till the evening but failed. We then called up the office and learnt that he had not turned up that day,” said Ronita, an MCom student at Calcutta University.

The family lodged a missing diary with Shibur police station the same night.

The Mukherjees denied having received any ransom call but police sources said at least two such calls came. “The family was first asked to pay Rs 2 lakh. In the next call, the amount was raised to Rs 5 lakh,” said a source.

The alleged kidnappers apparently also sent a text message, threatening the family with dire consequences for reporting the matter to the police.

Sleuths said they had scanned CCTV footage and learnt that Mukherjee had taken a launch and reached Calcutta on May 23.

“The footage shows him walking down Strand Road towards the Eden Gardens,” said an officer.

Family members suspect Mukherjee has been held captive. “He would not go away on his own. We are sure someone who wants to extract information about his company from him has held him captive,” said wife Piyali. Mukherjee’s company supplies tea-processing machine parts to northeastern states.

“We have started a kidnapping case. We are looking into all possible angles,” said Nishad Pervez, deputy commissioner (headquarters) of the Howrah commissionerate.