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Manipuri girl found dead in Mumbai - Family suspects foul play, demands thorough probe

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By OUR BUREAU in Mumbai
  • Published 15.07.08

Imphal/Mumbai, July 15: A 27-year-old Manipuri girl working as a customer relationship manager in a Mumbai five star hotel was found dead in her hostel at Marol in Andheri shortly after midnight on Friday.

Ch. Alena’s body was found hanging by a dupatta from the balcony of the hostel she shared with three other girls, authorities at Hotel Leela Kempinski said. But injury marks in her private parts have raised suspicions that she may have been sexually assaulted before being strangulated.

Though family members performed the last rites at Kongpal Kshetri Leikai of Imphal East this afternoon, they demanded a thorough probe by the Mumbai police into the circumstances leading to her death.

Chabungbam Ashok Kumar Singh, who brought his sister’s body home, said the family was “informed over phone on Saturday by hostel authorities that she was seriously ill, so come fast”.

When Ashok Kumar reached Mumbai on Sunday, his sister’s body was already in the morgue.

“They (the hotel and hostel authorities) were very uncooperative and refused to say anything about the circumstances leading to her death. They just said that she died in a local hospital on July 12. They may be trying to hush up matters,” Ashok Kumar alleged.

Alena was working at the hotel for the past one-and-a-half years.

A close relative said though the Cooper Post Mortem Centre on Juhu Road performed an autopsy and cited the provisional cause of death as “ligature on neck, we suspected foul play and got the body examined unofficially by some local doctors after the body was brought here this afternoon.

“We were told that there were injury marks on her private parts, which have aroused the suspicion that she could have been strangulated after sexual assault.”

Seeking a probe into the circumstances leading to her death, Ashok Kumar said: “The hotel officials and the management of the hostel where she lived were not convincing in their replies”.

A hotel spokesperson said Alena left for home that Friday after completing her shift at 3pm.

“Alena was alone in the room that evening. Her body was discovered by one of the roommates who went to the room and did not find her there. Her body was found hanging by the balcony grills. There was no suicide note found,” Mitu Basu, the corporate communications head of Leela Kempinski, said.

“We contacted her family immediately, and her brother took custody of the body. We have not noticed anything suspicious and we have done everything we could to help her family. The police are investigating the case.”

Mumbai police have kept her clothes and mobile phone for investigation, Ashok Kumar said.

Investigating officer, sub-inspector Vithal Salgaonkar of MIDC police station in Andheri, however, said the police investigation so far has ruled out any foul play.

“Her brother told us that as a child, she fell down from a tree and suffered brain injury. Her behaviour was a bit inconsistent, and she showed strong mood swings. Her roommates also confirmed that,” the officer said.

He said her roommates claimed that Alena aspired to be an airhostess, and seemed very upset after she failed in the job interviews she appeared for recently.

They also mentioned that she had a boyfriend in the Northeast with whom she often quarrelled over phone.

The door to Alena’s room was bolted from inside and had to be broken. Her roommates said they had called her for dinner around 9pm that day, but she refused to go saying she had a stomach upset,” Salgaonkar said.

Alena leaves behind her parents, an elder brother, a young brother and a sister.