The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Buddha vetoes kidnap story
- Police to go public with NRI version

Rajiv Bhattacharya's disappearance was not a case of abduction, announced chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee at Writer's Buildings on Monday.

'This is not a case of kidnapping at all,' the chief minister declared, but refused to elaborate.

The London-based IBM executive, who returned to Calcutta on Sunday morning after disappearing on June 1, is believed to have gone, on his own, to Burdwan.

On Monday night, Rajiv's official statement was recorded and police expect to have a clearer picture by Tuesday afternoon, announced Jawed Shamim, deputy commissioner of police (eastern suburban division).

So far, officers of Narkeldanga police station probing the case have learnt that Rajiv, currently being treated at Calcutta Medical Research Institute (CMRI) for trauma, had gone to a private bank in Ultadanga on June 1, where he withdrew Rs 15,000.

After two minutes, he deposited Rs 5,000. Then he entered a shop to buy a pair of shoes, went to his car to drop off the package, before walking a few yards and disappearing in the crowd.

At Ultadanga station, Rajiv bought a ticket and boarded a train to Burdwan, where he spent the night at a hotel.

There, he is believed to have called the IBM office in Salt Lake twice from a telephone booth off the Tinkonia bus stand.

The first call was made around 4 pm and Rajiv hung up soon after the speaker at the other end asked him to call home instead of the office.

Investigators believe Rajiv tried to convince his office that he had been abducted.

Police said the NRI, who was scheduled to get married a day after his alleged abduction, had failed to provide answers to a number of questions to the Government Railway Police (GRP) when he surfaced at Mughalsarai on June 3.

There are two critical questions being raised by police:

nHow is it that Rajiv remembers nothing about his trip from Ultadanga to Mughalsarai, as he has said in his official statement to the city police'

nAnd how did he return to Calcutta in what appears to be a new kurta-pyjama set, when he disappeared in a pair of trousers and a shirt'

On Sunday evening, Rajiv had another visitor ' Jayanta Chakrabarty, the father of the bride-to-have-been.

Police are still wondering why abductors would beat him up to get his residence number, as Rajiv claimed to the GRP in Mughalsarai, when they could have easily got it from his driver, instead.

They are also not convinced that Rajiv was swooning from the heat ' as his family insisted when he returned ' after spending only seven months in London.

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