Kolkata: Kolkata police are investigating the mysterious case of an Indian Air Force (IAF) officer who went missing from Kolkata’s Army command hospital on Thursday last week.
52-year-old Brajesh Kumar Shukla, a junior warrant officer (JWO), had been admitted to the Alipore command hospital for a cataract operation on April 26. He was to be discharged on May 5, three days after his operation, but he disappeared just a day before.
“As per CCTV footage at the hospital, my father was seen walking out of the hospital at 5:27 pm on May 4. Since then we have not been able to trace him. It’s been a week and police has got no lead,” Shukla’s son Tarun, told India Today. Shukla, who was posted in Assam’s Jorhat, left his mobile phone and other belongings in the hospital, making it harder for suthorities to trace him.
A week since his disappearance, Shukla’s family and Kolkata police remain clueless about his whereabouts. Tarun, who is currently searching for Shukla in Kolkata, says his father sounded absolutely normal when they last spoke on May 3. “My father was supposed to be discharged and he was also planning for a sick leave to meet us in Nagpur,” he said.
The family has made a desperate plea to the defence ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office for help. “We are not able to fathom what exactly happened to him. We are losing hope with each passing day. We would like to appeal to the defence ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office to help us. My father has served the forces for three decades, and it’s been a week and still we have no trace of him,” said Tarun.
“One cannot treat this as a missing case since he went out on his own will. However it is unfortunate that the JWO suddenly disappeared. IAF is treating it as a case of “absence without leave” and Air Force police is co-ordination with the Kolkata police to trace him,” said Wing Commander SS Birdi, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Defence in Kolkata.
The family, meanwhile, maintains that since Mr Shukla was admitted as a patient and undergoing treatment during the episode, the onus should be on the hospital.