The Telegraph
Tuesday , August 5 , 2014
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Tragedy at Friendship Day party
Woman dies in pool mystery

A 24-year-old woman attending a Friendship Day “foam party” in a Howrah club died after being found unconscious in a shallow pool where several others were taking a dip, ostensibly unaware of her condition until it was too late.

Subhanjita Basak, a resident of Garia, was frothing at the mouth when she was pulled out of the pool at the Lake Land Country Club around 7.30pm on Sunday. She was declared dead at SSKM Hospital.

The club, located off the Kona Expressway and about 500 metres from Santragachhi railway station, had let out the poolside area to an event management firm for the so-called foam party with DJ music, a rain dance and drinks, among other attractions.

The organisers said the Viva La Friendship party had attracted around 450 guests.

According to her friends, Subhanjita had entered the party zone around 4pm with friend Priyanka Bhattacharya and two others. The party was supposed to continue till 9.30pm.

Witnesses said they heard a commotion around 7.30pm and saw a young woman being fished out of the pool. Priyanka, with whom Subhanjita used to share a paying-guest accommodation, told police that she had last seen her friend an hour earlier.

“Subhanjita had had a few drinks in the two hours that she was there. I last saw her at 6.30pm. I was fetching food from a counter a few metres away from the pool around 7.30pm when there was some noise by the poolside. I ran back to see my friend being pulled out unconscious,” the police quoted Priyanka as saying.

After attempts to revive her failed, Subhanjita was put in an ambulance and taken to a nearby hospital, where doctors suggested that she be shifted to SSKM Hospital.

Abhishek Singh, a co-owner of Mellifluous Entertainment, the event management company that had organised the party, told the police that he accompanied Subhanjita in the ambulance. He said he knew Priyanka but not Subhanjita and had never seen her before the party.

“I saw her frothing at the mouth when I was carrying her into the ambulance. We tried to revive her but she didn’t respond,” Abhishek said.

Police sources said traces of alcohol were found in Subhanjita’s stomach during the post-mortem.

None of those interrogated could recall seeing Subhanjita entering the pool or say how long she was in the water. The pool is three feet deep, its depth having been reduced from the original five feet and eight inches for safety reasons, club sources said.

“We have interrogated at least eight of those who were there at the party on Sunday night. They told us that they didn’t see Subhanjita enter or fall into the pool. It is possible that she entered the pool under the influence of alcohol and drowned,” said an officer at Domjur police station.

Priyanka was quoted as saying that Subhanjita had told her on their way to the party venue that she would take a swim.

The management of Lake Land Country Club said it had no knowledge of the incident beyond what the police had found out. “The event management company had hired our venue and arranged for food and security on its own,” said a club official.

“On noticing that there was an emergency, our guards rang up a nursing home in Bankra and requested for an ambulance to be sent. The ambulance reached the club within 15 minutes and the girl was taken to a hospital,” he added.

Subhanjita was married but wasn’t staying with her husband and in-laws since November last year. According to her mother-in-law Shikha Sorel, the 24-year-old got married to her son Samrat on January 23, 2011.

In November 2013, she moved out of her husband’s home in Beleghata and shifted to her grandmother’s house in Garia.

“Subhanjita’s grandmother told me that she was having problems pursuing her postgraduate studies (at Dinabandhu Andrews College), so she needed to stay closer,” Shikha said.

After staying with her grandmother for a few months, Subhanjita moved into a PG accommodation in the same area.

Subhanjita’s parents had died when she was in school and she was raised by her grandmother, uncle and aunt, all of whom live close by.


  • How long was Subhanjita lying unconscious in the pool?
  • Why didn’t anyone notice her until 7.30pm although many others were in the pool?
  • Why didn’t Subhanjita’s friends enquire where she was although she apparently hadn’t been seen for an hour since 6.30pm?
  • Witnesses told police Subhanjita was ‘frothing at the mouth’. What caused it?
  • Did Subhanjita drown while trying to swim after allegedly consuming alcohol or did she fall into the pool?