The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Police put accident seal on trek tragedy

Calcutta, Aug. 7: The criminal investigation department today formally wrapped up the Bagmundi trekking case, saying it was an accident triggered by a flash flood in the Sobha river.

The CID also gave a clean chit to the two survivors, Bappaditya Chatterjee and Kaushik Sarkhel.

Ruling out any possibility of foul play behind the death of three students of Jadavpur University, including two girls, investigating officers said no evidence was found which might indicate that the incident was not an accident.

The investigators questioned Bappaditya and Kaushik today but described it as “routine”.

“Even after conducting a thorough search, including visiting the spot where the incident took place, nothing was found suspicious. Besides, it was mentioned in the post-mortem reports of all the three deceased that the deaths were due to drowning and the injuries found on the victims’ bodies were accidental in nature,” said Rajeev Kumar, the deputy inspector-general (operations), CID.

The post- mortem reports reached the CID today.

The only question remaining unanswered, according to the investigators, is why the bodies were found without clothes.

“We are not sure whether the current of flood waters have caused it. Experts’ opinion has been sought,” an officer said.

“We will ask the experts why the women were without clothes while everything were intact on Subhankar’s body.”

A five-member group, Bappaditya, Kaushik, Subhankar Saha, Swati Das and Arundhati Ghosh, had set out on a trip to Ayodhya Hills on July 28.

In the afternoon, they were caught in the flash flood while trying to cross the river, according to the survivors. Bappaditya and Kaushik survived while Swati, Arundhati and Subhankar were swept away.

Later, their bodies were found far from the spot where the incident took place.

The CID took over the investigation after a directive from chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to get to the bottom of the case.

Kumar said the doctors who examined the injury marks on Bappaditya and Kaushik confirmed that it was not self-inflicted.

“They (the doctors) said the bruises were caused by boulder hits,” the officer said. “Investigators also have not found too many contradictions in the statements provided by Bappaditya and Kaushik.”

Responding to an allegation levelled by Subhankar’s family members that his death was not merely an accident, Kumar said: “I spoke to the superintendent of Purulia hospital who was present at the time of post-mortem.

He confirmed that the evidence found from Subhankar’s body indicates that he died due to drowning and the injury marks showed that it was an accident.”

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