Missing autistic teen Tarun Gupta's father restarts search from ground zero

Updated: Jun 29, 2020, 08:11 IST | Gaurav Sarkar | Mumbai

Vinod Kumar Gupta, his friends have searched nearly 35 villages, numerous ashrams near Panvel - where Tarun was reportedly spotted last October

Vinod Kumar Gupta nailing posters of Tarun on a tree (left); the new waterpoof missing person posters
Vinod Kumar Gupta nailing posters of Tarun on a tree (left); the new waterpoof missing person posters

For the third time ever since the national lockdown was relaxed last month, Vinod Kumar Gupta, father of missing autistic 16-year-old Tarun Gupta has set out with a handful of friends and relatives to search for his son. Tarun went missing from near their home in Colaba on October 1, 2019, after he got mixed up with an election rally that was passing by. However, this time, Vinod is searching closer to home i.e. at the villages near Panvel.

Last month, Vinod travelled till Jhansi by road — a round trip of a total of 3,000 Km while searching for Tarun. He and his friends came back to Mumbai without any concrete leads, rested for two days, and once again left (by road) for Nadiad, near Ahmedabad, after they received a call from someone who said that they had spotted 'someone like Tarun.' However, this too did not yield anything fruitful.

Now, for the last two days, the group has been searching for Tarun across villages in Panvel. "He was seen outside Panvel station last October when he returned from Sawantwadi via a train," said Vinod, speaking with mid-day. He added that although Tarun wasn't spotted on CCTV, he was reportedly seen by eyewitnesses in and around the station. "We wanted to start our search from scratch at ground zero. This time, we will search near Mumbai, then all of Maharashtra and later venture out of the state."

"We have made new, laminated 'Missing' waterproof posters which we are nailing to all the trees and pillars on the national highway. These are precautions that we have taken during the monsoon so that the posters don't get destroyed. We have been searching here for the last two days but as of now, no leads have been found. However, there are a few ashrams located in the area. We are searching there as well," he added.

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