Lack Of Evidence Stalls Mumbai Blue Whale Suicide Probe

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Mumbai: The Blue Whale, a shadowy, challenged-based online game that has been linked to the suicide of a teenager in Mumbai, found mention in the Maharashtra Assembly even as the Mumbai Police probe into the incident slowed down.

Investigators are finding it difficult to collect evidence of the episode from July 30, when Manpreet Singh Sahani, a 14-year-old boy from Mumbai’s Andheri suburb, killed himself by jumping off the terrace of his seven-floor building on July 30.

The boy, Manpreet Singh Sahani, was to be a player of The Blue Whale, a game that puts players through a series of 50 ‘quests’. The final task asks them to jump off a building and kill themselves.

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Mumbai Police is yet to officially confirm the exact cause behind the episode but have said that they are investigating all angles. The probe, however, has been hamstrung by a lack of statements from Manpreet’s friends and social media posts from the boy’s mobile phone disappearing.

Investigators have sent the phone and Manpreet’s other electronic gadgets to the state forensic laboratory to collect other possible evidence, recover the junked posts and find out who may have deleted the postings.

Police officials have also recorded the statements of Manpreet’s parents, but sources say that it hasn’t really helped the cops uncover any leads. The most promising lead right now is one of Manpreet’s close friends with whom the 14-year-old had a conversation related to suicide. Cops are counseling the friend, Manpreet’s classmate, in order to get him to talk about the nature of his conversations with Manpreet.

Apart from this one friend, cops believe that there a few other classmates who may have known about Manpreet’s intentions. However, police officials have faced problems talking to other friends. Some are too scared to give a statement, while parents of a few others have refused to get their children involved in the matter.

Meanwhile, the Manpreet’s suicide and its possible link to The Blue Whale game came up in the Maharashtra Assembly today. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis issued a statement, calling The Blue Whale “extremely dangerous” and saying that the game is worrisome. Fadnavis also said that he means to rise being the game and his concerns over it with the Centre.

Fadnavis said, “This game, The Blue Whale game is extremely dangerous and has been a cause of worry for everyone. The issue would be conveyed to the Centre.”

Fadnavis’s comments were in response to several politicians raising the matter in the Assembly. Former Deputy Chief Minister and NCP Leader Ajit Pawar raised the issue in the lower house. “The suicide of the 14-year-old boy is alarming. This matter needs to be thoroughly probed. The culprit who drove the boy to take the extreme step should punish,” Pawar demanded.