The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Strange parallels in doctor deaths

Calcutta, July 4: A day after Sushil Pal, a gynaecologist at Walsh Hospital in Hooghly’s Serampore, was found dead in a canal, police pieced together similarities with the death of another doctor last year.

A surgeon at Ranaghat Subdivisional Hospital in Nadia, Chandan Sen was found dead in February 2003. Some of his colleagues have been charged with the murder.

“The similarities are very strong but it is not time yet to read into them,” said Sankha Subhra Chakraborty, the Serampore subdivisional police officer. “Remember, we are dealing with two victims having differences, too.”

Yesterday, Pal’s mud-splattered body was found at the end of a slope leading to the Saraswati canal in Howrah’s Sankrail, about 60 km from his workplace. A string of unanswered questions emerged, almost at the same time.

Was Pal murdered' The police would not comment on it but circumstances suggested so.

A resident of Bright Street in south Calcutta, Pal told his wife Kanika around 8 am on Friday: “I am going to the hospital.”

But he had not gone to the hospital. “I am unable to make any sense out of it,” said Kanika, their two daughters by her side.

“My husband did not know anything or anybody in Sankrail. Having worked in a hospital in Jalpaiguri for 10 years, he came to Walsh three months ago. I don’t know if he lied to me (about going to hospital). He was not the type to commit suicide… he was a very good swimmer.”

Kanika spoke to her husband thrice on Friday, between 9 am and 2.30 pm. “He spoke to me as usual and told me that he would go to Rishra,” she recalled.

“The last time I spoke to him, there was commotion in the background. A woman was shouting, but I could not hear what she was saying. He said he was in the operation theatre.”

The family is now waiting for the post-mortem report from his alma mater.

Officials of Serampore police station, where Kanika lodged a missing diary, said someone called the private clinic where Pal attended patients after hospital on Friday evenings. “The man told the receptionist that he had found Pal’s leather bag and will bring it to the clinic on Saturday morning. He did not turn up,” said a police officer.

Detectives are now looking for several answers:

• He could swim. It is next to impossible for him to commit suicide by jumping into a canal. Besides, why should he go 40 km from the city to commit suicide'

• A monthly train ticket was found from the back pocket of his trousers. Where did the wallet in which he usually kept it go'

• His wrist-watch was missing. What happened to it'

• He was found wearing his slip-in footwear. If his body had been washed away, they should not have been in the feet. Was he killed elsewhere and dumped'

• He lied to his wife. Why '

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