AI manager stages missing drama, returns home

4:58 PM, Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

ccBangalore: A senior manager with Air India, who went missing from HAL area in the City on Friday night, returned home safely on Monday morning.

An inquiry by the police revealed that Arun Mehta (41) was neither abducted nor robbed as was suspected earlier. In fact, the police said, he had enacted a “missing drama” as he was unable to cope with pressure at his workplace.

Mehta, a resident of Annasandrapalya, called his wife on Monday morning, told her he was safe and later returned home, police said.

On reaching the HAL police station, Mehta told the police that on Friday night, four men who came in a four-wheeler struck his car, and picked a quarrel over a petty issue. He said he fell unconscious after one of them hit him on the head. Mehta claimed he regained consciousness only on Monday and realised he was in a tub in an abandoned house near Tumkur. He said he got into a truck, reached the railway station and took a train to Bangalore.

“We grew suspicious as his version had several loopholes,” said HAL police inspector R Rajesh. “We told him nobody could be unconscious for more than two days following a minor attack. We said we would shortly arrest the men who attacked him and asked him to reveal the truth, or face the consequences for cooking up a story.

It was then that he told us the truth,” the police officer said.

After the Air India’s director general conducted a meeting on January 3, seven pilots reportedly went on leave, affecting flight schedules the next day. Mehta did not have the courage to ask them to cancel their leave. He was under extreme pressure and decided to enact the missing drama to avert the fallout, police said.

Later, Mehta confessed to the police that he took a bus to JB Nagar and then reached HAL area in his car, where he parked it. He ate ‘bhel puri,’ changed his uniform in the car, wore a T-shirt and went to Tin Factory area from where he boarded a bus to Tirupati, police said.

When the police asked him if he was again concoting a story, Mehta claimed he could show his fingerprints and pictures taken at the Tirupati temple.

There was an injury mark near his abdomen and initially it was suspected one of his kidneys had been removed, when he had gone ‘missing.’ But he told the police he had sustained the injury in the bus.

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