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Bengal techie dies in UK hotel
- Father asks how a ‘healthy, young man’ could pass away

Aug. 18: A young software engineer from Birbhum was found dead in a hotel in Reading, the UK, yesterday.

Kazi Akhter, 24, who worked for telecom firm Verizon in Hyderabad, had gone there on an official assignment.

Police in Reading, Berksh-ire, confirmed today that the body of a 24-year-old Indian had been found in a local hotel but not if it was that of Kazi.

“There are no suspicious circumstances,” said a police spokeswoman. “The body has been handed over to the coroner who will determine (the) cause of death,” she added.

However, a statement from the employers said: “Verizon is saddened to confirm that Kazi Akhter, a Verizon employee based in Hyderabad, India, passed away suddenly this week during the course of a visit to the company’s European headquarters in Reading….”

The police were summoned to the Holiday Inn Reading South at midday yesterday after its staff forced their way into the room because the guest had not been responding to calls since Sunday. The body was found on the bed.

Kazi’s father Abdul Mokid, 50, is a sub-assistant engineer with the West Bengal Small-scale Industries Development Corporation in Durgapur. He said the last time he and his family spoke to Kazi was on Saturday.

“He told us then that he was supposed to go to Paris on August 22 and return to Hyderabad on September 6,” Mokid said. “We told him to take care of his health since he was in a new place.”

Kazi was single and had shifted to Hyderabad from Pune last year after joining Verizon. He did his higher secondary from Benimadhab High School, Suri, and computer engineering from TechnoIndia, a private college in Calcutta.

Mokid said the family became worried on Sunday when Kazi’s phone went unanswered. “On Monday morning, I called up my son’s office in Hyderabad and reported the matter,” Mokid said. “His colleagues also told me that they were unable to contact him.”

Mokid received a call from the UK informing him about the death yesterday.

According to the Reading police, Mokid apparently did not understand the English officer who called him on his mobile. A second person, who spoke Hindi, explained to him what had happened.

“A police officer by the name of John had called me up,” Mokid said. “I couldn’t follow his accent, it wasn’t clear what exactly he was trying to con- vey, but I could make out that he was trying to tell me that my son had died. Later, another officer who identified himself as Dipak spoke to me in Hindi and gave the details.”

Mokid said “Dipak” told him it would take at least three days to conduct an inquiry.

Robert Walker, the general manager of the hotel, told The Telegraph: “Our thoughts are with his family and work colleagues. Our understanding was that he died from natural causes. There is no further action for the police to take.”

The father said he could not figure out how a “young and healthy” man could die all of a sudden. “There has to be some foul play. How can the British police say there is nothing suspicious?”

Mokid said he didn’t have the money travel to the UK to find out things for himself. Verizon said it was “working to provide them (the family) with any support and assistance they may need”.

“Kazi was an admired friend and colleague,” it added.

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