The body of Madhu Samajhdar, a railway junior engineer who had gone missing since July 4 evening in Latehar district, was found on Thursday in a water-filled pit behind the base camp where he was staying. The police said that, prima facie, there was no foul play and he may have slipped into the pit. Initially, the police had treated it as a kidnapping case.
A medical board will conduct the postmortem. The inquest proceedings and the postmortem will be videographed, the police said.
The JE, in his mid-40s, was working on the Tori-Shivpur railway line, an important 44 km stretch for transportation of coal to various power plants in India from the mines in Chatra and Hazaribagh. Suspecting foul play, as the region is infested with splinter Maoist groups and criminal gangs, the police had launched a massive hunt for him on Wednesday, scouring places in Chatra and Hazaribagh, besides launching combing operations in the area.
According to the police, Samajhdar’s body was found on Thursday afternoon around 4.30 pm in the pit located at about 35 metres from the base-camp in Jeri village under Balumath. “The water was around 20-feet deep and it had been raining intermittently. Initially, we suspected that some criminal elements or the splinter groups could be involved. When the search did not yield result, we again combed the area around the base-camp. Finally, we found it in the water-filled pit,” said Sub-Divisional Police Officer (Latehar) Anuj Oraon.
Latehar Superintendent of Police Dhananjay Singh said: “We are not concluding the cause of death, which will be confirmed by the post-mortem. However, from initial evidence, we feel that he may have slipped into the pit.”
Singh said that Samajhdar, a resident of Saria area in Giridih district, was carrying Rs 15,000 in cash, two mobile phones, besides items carried by engineers like paper-cutter, eraser etc. “All of it has been found intact. There is no physical sign of any injury. Had a criminal gang been involved, they should have targeted the cash and the mobile phone. Also, the pit, where the body was found is located in the rear portion of the camp and was often used by the occupants to relieve themselves. Further investigations are on,” he said.