Days after the four employees of an advertisement firm went missing on November 2, body of 28-year-old Chintan Buch was recovered from Neera river near Sarole village on the Pune-Bangalore highway yesterday. Search operation for locating the other three persons and their car was called off for the day due to bad light, and would be resumed today.
Buch, along with his colleagues Pranav Ashok Lele, Sahil Qureshi and Shrutika Chandwani, was heading towards Gokarna Mahabaleshwar in Karnataka on November 1 and they were last spotted near Kapurhol, ahead of the Khed-Shivapur toll plaza on November 2.
Buch’s body was seen floating about 800 metres away from the bridge on Neera river, between Pune and Satara districts, in Sarole village. The body was spotted by Dattatrey Pawar, a member of the gramrakshak force around 11 am. He immediately informed the local police following which a team of Pune rural police reached the spot. They fished out the body and established Buch’s identity. The body was later sent for a post-mortem to the Bhor Hospital.
Once Buch’s identity was confirmed, a search operation to locate his missing colleagues was initiated by the police assuming that the car might have fallen into the gap between the old and the new bridge on the river after the driver lost control of the vehicle. However, the car remained untraceable. After Pawar spotted Buch’s body, youth from the local Bhoi community entered the water at around 3 pm to search for the missing trio and their car. Tehsildar Ram Chobe requested the National Disaster Response Force to help local police. Soon, a team of 50 NDRF men arrived. However, the search was called off at 6.30 pm due to bad light.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone I) Makarand Ranade said, “We are investigating this case from all possible angles. We are verifying whether this incident was an accident or sabotage. Relatives of the missing youths had also reached the spot near Neera river. Buch’s uncle Ninad Chaya said, “I came to know about the tragic incident this morning (Wednesday). Chintan’s parents are crestfallen and are finding it extremely difficult to accept that their son is no more.”
What happened that night
2 am: Shrutika texts her dad that she has left Pune
2.26 am: The car was spotted near Kapurhol, ahead of the Khed-Shivapur toll plaza
2.45 am: Their mobiles are switched off