Eleven years after Amritava Chowdhury was declared dead in the Jnaneswari Express accident along with 147 other passengers, the resident of north Kolkata’s Jorabagan was interrogated for hours by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Sunday, in connection with a scam in which he got his sister get a government job. Believed to be a victim of the derailment incident, Chowdhury’s family was given monetary compensation by the state and the Centre, officials said.
According to records, Chowdhury “died" in the Gyaneswari Express accident on May 26, 2010. However, he was found on Facebook under the name of Saheb Chowdhury. His social media profile from 2019 showed that he was engaged in the selling of flats and shops in a multi-storey building in Manteswar, Burdwan. Chowdhury used his Facebook profile to promote the sale of properties. He was also found to be actively posting on this profile in April 2020.
CBI officers are, however, not certain of Chowdhury’s identity after 24-hours interrogation. The CBI had produced Chowdhury and his father in a special CBI court in Bankshal Court and sought permission for DNA testing. Officials have questioned whether Amritava is Mihir Chowdhury’s son due to multiple inconsistencies in the statements of both of their statements and confusion regarding Amritava’s age. Although he has not been arrested yet, a CBI special court judge has directed the agency to submit a status report by July 2, allowing DNA testing.
Amritava’s parents Mihir Kumar Chowdhury and Archana Chowdhury, had secured compensation of Rs 4 lakh, claiming death in the train accident. Chowdhury’s sister, Mahua Pathak, who currently works as an “assistant signal" in the Sealdah division of South Eastern Railways was also able to get a government job due to the tragedy. Amritava, his sister and his parents have been named in the FIR, and “unknown" government and private officials.
“The body was handed over to the family after matching the DNA profiling. This means there was some tampering with the DNA report because now we find that the so-called dead person is alive and that body that was handed over to the family was not that of Amritava Chowdhury," said a CBI officer.