| FUTILE FINERY: The Bhattacharya residence in Salt Lake, decorated for the wedding that will not be. (Below) 31-year-old Rajiv Bhattacharya. Picture by Amit Datta
The mystery of the missing groom deepened on Thursday, with no sign of London-based IBM Global employee Rajiv Bhattacharya.
After carrying out preliminary investigation the day after the 31-year-old went missing from Ultadanga, police said it could be a case of abduction, though no ransom call had been received by the family till late on Thursday.
Rajiv, a resident of Salt Lake, had come down on May 29 and was to get married on Friday, June 3.
He was last seen by his driver, Gajendra Roy, who apparently dropped him off in front of HSBC bank's Ultadanga branch on Wednesday morning. Police were alerted an hour after his disappearance.
'Rajiv had withdrawn Rs 15,000 from the Ultadanga bank,' said Jawed Shamim, deputy commissioner of police, eastern suburban division.
Roy, from Vaishali, in Bihar, was produced in Sealdah court on Thursday and remanded in police custody.
'We have reason to believe that Rajiv did not disappear on his own. We arrested the driver of the Bhattacharya family who was appointed six months ago, because of some inconsistencies in his statement. We are now scanning his background,' said commissioner of police Prasun Mukherjee.
In this connection, police have detained a person attached to an agency dealing in foreign exchange. 'He said that Rajiv was supposed to come to his office on Wednesday. We are interrogating him,' said an official.
Rajiv's father Saroj Bhattacharya, a retired railway employee, went to Writers' Buildings on Thursday afternoon and met chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's confidential assistant Joydeep Mukherjee.
'This is a serious matter and I will talk to the police commissioner,' the chief minister later said.
In the course of investigation, police traced the number of a telephone booth in Burdwan, from where a call was made to IBM's Salt Lake office late on Wednesday. 'The caller was looking for the telephone number of Rajiv's residence in AE block of Salt Lake. The call was made from a public call booth,' said an officer on the case.
Police have also taken note of an SMS sent to Rajiv's fiancee. 'She received the message last month in which the sender warned her with the words: 'Biye korar aage bhalo kore khoj niyo (Find out all details before getting married)',' said an officer.
Senior officials spoke to the girl for two hours at Bidhannagar (North) police station and then a police team visited her Purbachal residence.
Investigation revealed that Rajiv's parents had published a matrimonial advertisement earlier this year. The two families met and the marriage was finalised. 'We have cancelled everything and are just waiting for his return,' said Partha Banerjee, Rajiv's brother-in-law.