The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sleuths dig in to pin blame

Investigations into the cable death case gathered momentum on Monday, with sleuths interrogating the witnesses and seeking expert opinion on the incident.

Sources in the murder squad of the detective department said the probe is currently focussed on finding out the agency responsible for Amit Dalmia’s death. “We have confirmed through witnesses and other evidence that the accident occurred after the car hit a metal strip jutting out of the road surface near the Albert Road-Camac Street intersection,’’ a police officer said.

The metal strip was a cover of the optical-fibre cable laid by Reliance Infocomm, he added.

“We are now trying to find out who is responsible for the metal strip breaking out of the tarmac and for how long it had been jutting out,’’ he added.

Witnesses, including a parking-lot attendant, had told reporters that they had seen the strip jutting out from the surface for about a week before the May 12 accident. Detectives said they have to investigate further to find out whether it was due to callousness on part of Reliance that the strip had broken out of the road surface or if any other agency was responsible.

Sources said engineers of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) were questioned. “The CMC engineers are supposed to check the condition of the road and they should have noticed the metal strip. But they hedged the question,’’ an official said.

Detectives also studied Dalmia’s post-mortem report and sought medical opinion to find out whether he was sober while driving from home to his friend’s place in Camac Street.

Reliance, meanwhile, has despatched letters to the CMC and the police, stating that the company was being unnecessarily blamed for the metal strips jutting out of roads in various parts of the city. “We have been harping for days that other agencies, like CMC, are responsible, but no one seems to listen,” said an official.

A Reliance team on Monday met the top brass of the CMC, Lalbazar and the North and South 24-Parganas district administrations. On Saturday, a senior vice-president of Reliance held a marathon meeting with North 24-Parganas district magistrate H.K. Dwivedi.

As the blame game continues, the Dalmia family is preparing for Amit’s shraddh on May 24. Having spent the whole of Sunday facing sleuths, the Dalmias were relatively at ease on Monday.

“The police said they will be back on Saturday. We are cooperating with them and will continue to do so,” said Amit’s father, Santosh Dalmia.

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