A number of people present at a party in Kolkata, where a Class XII student allegedly died of wounds inflicted by glass shards, had promptly deleted their messaging and social media histories soon after the incident Saturday night, investigators have found.
This came to fore as the Cyber Cell of the Kolkata Police scanned 20 cellphones that it had seized Tuesday from around 15 people, including friends of the 17-year-old victim, Aabesh Dasgupta, who were present at the apartment complex of author Amit Chaudhuri in southern part of the city.
On Wednesday, three people were arrested for selling liquor to Aabesh and his minor friends. Those arrested include Rajesh Saha and Soumya Jyoti Saha, owners of a wine shop located at Rifle Road, close to the 6-Sunny Park residential complex where Aabesh was found dead. The third person arrested is Sudhangshu Dutta, the salesman at the wine shop.
“Acting on source information, we have arrested the trio for selling liquor to minors,” said Vishal Garg, Joint Commissioner of Kolkata Police (Crime).
The police are probing whether it was an accident, as the victim’s friends have claimed, or murder, as his mother Rimjhim Dasgupta asserted.
“My son was murdered. He was left to die by his friends. It cannot be an accident. It’s been four days, but nothing has progressed in the investigation. By arresting these wine shop owners, my son will not get justice. The main accused are roaming freely, they should be put behind the bars,” Rimjhim Dasgupta said.
A senior officer associated with the case said that the messages exchanged before and after the incident by those who were present at the party can throw up some leads. The Cyber Cell is working to retrieve some deleted messages from different platforms including WhatsApp, Facebook, and Snapchat from the seized cellphones. “We are working with a special software to retrieve these deleted messages. These posts will give us a clearer idea on what was going on during the time of his death. Moreover, this will also allow us to check the veracity of the statements of those who were present at the party,” added the officer.
Meanwhile, police called the apartment’s security guards and veteran sports journalist and commentator Kishore Bhimani, a member of the apartment’s association, for questioning. This comes a day after seven “friends” of Aabesh, all minors, Chaudhuri and his daughter were questioned. Police also visited a south Kolkata club, where the minors had gathered to celebrate the birthday of Chaudhuri’s daughter on Saturday. CCTV footage of the club has been seized for further investigation, another officer confirmed.
Guests at the birthday party, all teenagers, had gathered at the club before going to the author’s apartment complex in Ballygunge where Aabesh died of wounds inflicted by glass shards.
“It appears that the children wanted to throw the party at the author’s house, but the family had explained that they were in mourning. Instead, it was suggested that they (Chaudhuri’s daughter and others) go out and get something to eat. But there was some confusion and they couldn’t go to the club, which they had initially wanted to go to. Instead they went to Princeton Club,” added an officer.