Family of drowned Jet Airways pilot cries foul

June 22nd, 2009 - 11:22 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) The family of a pilot with Jet Airways, who drowned in the swimming pool at an African diplomat’s residence here in the national capital during a party, has questioned the sequence of events that led to his death.
Kunal Batra, who was a pilot with Jet Airways, had gone to attend a birthday party of the son of an honorary counsel of an African country at his farmhouse in southwest Delhi late Saturday. He was accompanied by his school friend Sanjay Madan.

“He never had any fight or issues with anyone. He did not even consume alcohol or smoke. Something really wrong must have happened because of which he couldn’t protest and drowned in the pool in presence of 50 other people,” the pilot’s father Rakesh Batra said.

L.K Idnani, Kunal’s maternal uncle, said: “Kunal was 6 feet two inches tall and it is strange that he had drowned in a pool only 5 feet deep. We are told that the drowning incident had happened between 3 to 4 a.m. Sunday and someone from the party dropped him at trauma centre before rushing away. None of his friends, or persons at the party have said anything to us or contacted us even once.”

Kunal’s mother said: “We are in no way suggesting that any of his friends had anything behind the death. We just want the truth to come out. Sanjay, who was his close school friend, has not contacted us since the incident. He is hurriedly packing and leaving for France even when he is a crucial eye witness to the entire incident.”

According to the family, Kunal, the only son, had last spoken to them around 10 p.m. Saturday night. “He told us that he was going out with Sanjay.”

Neelam said her son generally returned home from such parties around 3 a.m. in the morning and his absence on Sunday morning surprised her. “When I didn’t see his car around 7 a.m. Sunday, I tried both his cell phones but there was no response. His cell phones are also missing.”

Kunal’s cousin Ankit Batra said it was not understandable how someone could drown in the presence of fifty other people. “Would no one have seen him slip in the pool, if it was a mere accident and tried to get him out? Why did nobody bother to contact us after the incident and simply left him at the hospital and left without staying there or informing any of us or the police?” he asked.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (southwest Delhi) K. Jagdeeshan said police only received the information about the incident from the AIIMS trauma centre.

“We are now carrying out the enquiries about the incident from the honorary counsel of Togo, at whose farmhouse the party was being held. The initial post-mortem report say that it was death by drowning,” he said, adding police were probing the death from all possible angles.

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