Riju’s last words to mother- Cops suspect suicide, quiz friend whom boy met before vanishing
Calcutta, Feb. 11: The last time Riju Basak spoke to his mother, he had said he was at a conference at Max Mueller Bhavan and she could text her in case of an emergency.
The next time a call came from his number, around 6.40pm on Wednesday, his mother could only hear vehicles honking and a buzz like one from a crowded place. The Class XI student of La Martiniere was found floating dead in a desolate corner of Rabindra Sarovar yesterday morning.
“He called me around 3pm on Wednesday, saying he was at a conference and would not be able to take calls. He asked me to text him if needed,” Riju’s mother Mitra told The Telegraph this evening.
Another call came from his cellphone at 6.40pm but no one spoke from the other side. “I told him that if you are done, come home early, do not delay… have not seen you for several hours,” Mitra said. “There was no response. I thought there was something wrong with the signal.” The line got disconnected and when she called back, it went unanswered.
Riju was among the three students from La Martiniere to have qualified for an essay-writing competition and a tour of Calcutta with Goethe-Institut.
Preliminary investigations suggest that Riju had committed suicide, police said. “The evidence we have gathered so far suggests he killed himself. Prima facie, there was no foul play,” said Damayanti Sen, the joint commissioner of police (crime).
“Had he been forced into the water, there would have been resistance marks. Also, there would have been finger impressions on his neck and shoulders,” an officer of the homicide department said. “It seems that he was not under the influence of any intoxicant.”
Max Mueller Bhavan officials later informed Mitra that Riju had been dropped near Chandni Chowk Metro station around 6pm on Wednesday. The Basaks live near the Hind Fame multiplex on Ganesh Chandra Avenue, about 500 metres from the station.
Riju’s parents learnt from one of his friends, who lives near Rabindra Sarovar, that their son had called her around 6.25pm on Wednesday. “She told us that Riju had asked her to give him a calendar. They met somewhere. She had brought the calendar but he apparently told her he would take it from her on Thursday as there was not enough space in his bag,” Mitra said.
The cellphone Riju used is missing but his call list confirmed that he had called up the friend.
“We are trying to find out where he was after he left his friend on Wednesday evening. The preliminary post-mortem report suggests that he had died more than 24 hours before the body was found,” the officer said.
The police quizzed the friend at her home for several hours yesterday. Her house is near Bhavani cinema, in front of which Riju’s bag, diary, I-card, blazer, tie and shoes were found on Wednesday evening.
Mitra said she had asked the friend to collect the items because she lived close by.
“Riju appeared very restless and angry,” an officer quoted the girl as saying. “She told us that although she asked him about the reason for his anger, he did not say anything,” the officer said.
Mitra said she had “no complaint against anybody”. “My son’s friends are like my own children. But we have no clue why and how he died.”
According to Mitra, Riju had told his friend that he would take the Metro back home. When she offered to accompany him to the station, he refused.
“He used to say he had to get 96 per cent marks in his ISC exams. I used to tell him that there was no reason to be tense and that he would do well,” Mitra said. The 17-year-old who wrote poetry and loved to play the guitar had also told his mother lately that he was unable to write well.
“We always went to pick him up from school or from any school programme. It is the first time we did not and he did not come back,” she added.