A 31-year-old peon at the Airport Authority of India (AAI) drowned on Sunday night in a 15-foot deep water tank at New Airport Colony (F-Line), Vile Parle (East) where he resided. Cops said that Tilak Suraj Bahadur, a habitual drunkard, was inebriated and slipped and fell into the tank.
"It seems the most likely scenario," said an officer from Vile Parle police station. "Whether he committed suicide or not, we'll never know. But we have ruled out the possibility of murder."
The police noted that there was foam in and around Bahadur's mouth when he was fished out of the tank -- a clear sign of drowning. "We have sent the body for autopsy to Cooper hospital," said the officer.
Victim: Tilak Suraj Bahadur
Around 7 am on Monday, residents of the colony spotted Bahadur's feet dangling out of an opening in the dome-shaped tank, and called the cops. "My wife spotted the body and alerted me. I called the Vile Parle police," said Prabhakar Shinde, a resident of the colony.
Residents said Bahadur was often found loitering around the colony drunk. "He used to drink a lot," said Ganesh Bahadur (19), one of Tilak's three brothers with whom he lived. "He was the sole breadwinner and was under some debt. He has a wife and daughter in Nepal; he couldn't have committed suicide. It was an accidental death," he said.
Kin cry foul
Residents allege that the gate near the tank was unlocked on the night of the incident and security guards were absent. "The gate is supposed to be kept locked at night, which wasn't the case. It was only in the morning, after the body was discovered, that they locked the gates," said Shinde.
A construction company that is building an access road near the colony had hired the guards. An official on condition of anonymity said, "We have taken all the necessary precautions. The tank was initially sealed with a trap door, which was stolen two days ago. We placed a temporary barricade on the opening, which was also stolen. We had warned the residents about it. If the guards are found guilty of negligence, we will definitely dismiss them."