On July 7,Nikhil Gatagat,a 20-year-old Electronics and Telecommunication Student from College of Engineering,Pune (CoEP),told the police that he had been kidnapped from Pune,drugged,robbed and thrown into a creek in Vashi,Navi Mumbai. About 20 days later,the police say that his story is nothing more than a tall tale narrated by someone who loves reading crime fiction and aspires to be a writer to hide the fact that he had attempted suicide that day.
On the night of July 7,Nikhil was rescued by fishermen from Vashi creek. He told the Vashi police that he was kidnapped by three persons when he took a shared autrickshaw to his hostel from Swargate bus stand. He said he had come to Pune from Latur to pay the fees for the final year of the course and resume classes at CoEP. He told police that he was taken into a car and was drugged. There were a lot of missing links in his statement, said senior inspector Manohar Joshi of Deccan Gymkhana.
A crime branch team led by inspector Sachin Sawant was also investigating the case. He had told his family that he had secured the grade point average of about 8 in fifth and sixth semesters. The college,however,told us that he did not even attend classes. He spent hours at a library on FC road reading books and in Internet cafes. He loves reading crime stories and aspires to be a writer, he said.
On Wednesday,police called Nikhil and his parents and asked him why he lied to his parents. He confessed that he had tried to commit suicide. On July 7 morning,he took a bus to Mumbai,bought Agatha Christie novels and rented a room at a lodge in Vashi. Later,he went to the creek,threw his bag and jumped. He,however,developed cold feet and started swimming to the shore when he was rescued.
A police officer said,Nikhil has been a good student and was in the merit list in SSC and HSC and the engineering entrance test. He also did well in the first year of engineering. However,his marks in subsequent semesters show that he had lost interest in engineering. He attempted suicide out of frustration.
Joshi said a case may be filed against Nikhil for registering a false FIR.