The body of a morning walker, identified as Asraf Ali, 60, was found floating in a pond at Victoria Memorial on Saturday morning. Ali was a resident of Anandanagar in Mumbai and had come to the city to visit his relatives in Hindusthan Park.
Preliminary investigations by Hastings police station revealed that Ali had entered the memorial premises through the east gate at around 5.30 am on Saturday. Some morning walkers, who had seen him sitting on a bench, noticed his absence and informed the two constables posted in front of the main gate.
Police, then, carried out an extensive search on the premises but to no avail. Later, around 8 am, another group of morning walkers noticed Ali’s body floating in the water. He was rushed to SSKM Hospital where doctors declared him brought dead.
“Ali came to Calcutta a few days ago to meet his relatives in Hindusthan Park. Whenever he was in the city, he used to go to the memorial grounds for a stroll in the morning. So, when he left home early on Saturday, his relatives did not suspect anything wrong,” said Nanda Dulal Paul, officer-in-charge of Hastings police station.
According to police, the former employee of a private firm in Mumbai had been ill for the past couple of years. “After retirement, a substantial amount of his savings went on his treatment,” Paul explained.
During his earlier visits to the city, Ali used to put up in a hotel near Sealdah station. But of late, he could not shoulder the cost and started staying with his relatives, the official added.
“The incident might be a case of suicide as the roads that morning walkers usually take are far from the waterbody,” Paul said. “Besides, Ali’s shoes were lying on the bank. A bag containing some medicines and clothes was also found on the spot.” Police, however, do not rule out the possibility of an accident. “We are probing if Ali had gone near the pond to wash his hands and slipped,” the officer-in-charge added.
Train services hit
Train services were disrupted on the Sealdah-Bongaon section of Eastern Railway on Saturday evening after local residents blocked tracks between Bira and Duttapukur stations for more than an hour. Several passenger trains were delayed. The blockade was reportedly the fallout of a dispute between two clubs near Bira station. A police picket was posted and Rapid Action Force personnel were deployed in the area.