Katraj lake drowning: Labourer’s body found,police probing negligence angle

Almost 40 hours after he had fallen into Katraj lake while boating,body of labourer Rajesh Dhotre was found at the corner of the lake on Saturday morning.

Written by Express News Service | Pune | Published: May 13, 2012 7:18 am

Almost 40 hours after he had fallen into Katraj lake while boating,body of labourer Rajesh Dhotre (39) was found at the corner of the lake on Saturday morning.

Police are now investigating allegations by relatives that life jackets were not given to the persons on the boat. Tourism corporation officials,however,maintained that all the six persons including Dhotre were given life jackets but except one all others refused to wear it.

Bharati Vidyapeeth police said on Thursday that Dhotre had come to the lake for boating around 2 pm along with his two kids and a friend. Witnesses told police that Dhotre lost his balance when they were splashing water on each other. Dhotre fell into the lake as the boat almost tilted on his side.

As life guards saw Dhotre falling into the waters,they rushed to the spot in a boat and started the rescue operation. As he could not be traced,fire brigade was pressed into action and the teams from National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) also joined the search operation on Friday.

Senior inspector Nagnath Wakude said,“NDRF teams resumed the search on Saturday morning. As they had suspected the body to have stuck in the silt at the bottom of the lake,they used powerful water hose to unsettle the silt around 6.30 am. The body surfaced at the corner of the lake around 7.30 am.”

Autopsy was performed on the body at the Sassoon General Hospital and the viscera was preserved for chemical analysis.

“There have been allegations from the relatives that life jackets were not provided. We will be speaking to staff of the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) on this issue. We have started recording the statements of persons who accompanied Dhotre and also other witnesses. We will take a decision on whether or not to register an offence only after all the facts and legalities are checked,” added Wakude.

MTDC’s Pune regional manager Naina Gurav told Newsline,“Our staff had asked all six persons on the beat to wear life jackets. Except one all others including Dhotre refused to wear it. We have prepared a report based on an internal inquiry and it has been presented to higher authorities.”

“MTDC staff should have forced all persons on the boat to wear life jackets. We are investigating allegations of negligence from all angles,” said a police officer.

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