| Kamaluddin Ansari: Traceless. Picture by Amit Datta
On Friday afternoon, soon after namaaz, 22-year-old Kamaluddin Ansari, the youngest son of one of the most influential business families of Metiabruz, stepped out of his house to buy himself a shirt from Fancy Market.
Having skipped lunch, Munna, as he was fondly called, took an autorickshaw from Jhanuk Shah Lane, and on his way, even assured his maternal uncle, Gorey, that he would return soon.
Kamaluddin was to be married, along with 25-year-old brother Salauddin, on Sunday. With a little over 72 hours having elapsed since he left, and yet no sign of the groom, the marriage was cancelled.
Kamaluddin was last seen on Friday evening, when a young boy spotted him near Sayed Baba Mazhar at Hastings, being dragged away, with his hands and face tied.
While Kamaluddin's relatives lodged a missing diary with Metiabruz police station late on Friday, the official probe began on Sunday afternoon, at the behest of a senior minister of the Left Front government. Around 4.30 pm on Sunday, a team of officers from Watgunge police station went to collect the diary number and other details from Metiabruz, leaving family members at a loss.
'The marriage was fixed at least three years ago and both Munna and my daughter Farzana were clearly happy with it. How has the boy gone missing barely two days before the marriage' This is a clear case of kidnapping,' said Niyaz Ehsani, the groom's would-be father-in-law. 'The gang knew about the Ansaris' fortunes,' he asserted.
The bride-to-be was Munna's second cousin. Ehsani is all at sea now.
The Ansaris of Metiabruz are one of the biggest business families, yielding political clout by virtue of their business in scrap metal. Besides, the elder brothers also dye and wash jeans in a plant adjacent to the sprawling four-storeyed house. With family links extending to Faridabad, in Uttar Pradesh, Ayub Ansari, the father, said the marriage would have been a grand affair.
'Since there is no other celebration in the family in the near future, we had made all the arrangements to make it a memorable affair, having invited over 3,000 people,' he said. 'Special arrangements were made for the 500-plus VVIPs and the baraat was all ready. But now that Munna is gone, we have cancelled it all,' he lamented.
Family members were quick to add that they were still waiting for a call.
Amid whispers that Kamaluddin was possibly not happy with the marriage ' speculations that were echoed by Salauddin, the other brother who was to get married ' police claimed they would have to reconstruct the incident and collect more information before starting a probe.
'We have to look into various aspects before we decide on a particular path for probing the case,' said Samir Kar, officer-in-charge of Watgunge police station.