Did Satwik's friends know of the attack?
The search party led by Bannerghatta police sub-inspector Vishwanath found a slipper near a bush in the Bannerghatta National Park area on Monday afternoon.
Alarmed, the team members started searching for its pair, which led them to software professional Satwik Shastry’s body 50 metres away.
The slippers belonged to Ashish, one of the two friends of Satwik who went on the hapless trek on Saturday. This has raised a lot of uncomfortable questions, including that of foul play.
Police officers also questioned the version of Anupam and Ashish who claimed they got separated when Satwik went to answer the call of nature.
It is said the three men came face to face with a tusker when they were walking towards Ragihalli hillock from Kasubina Kunte. Unfortunately, Satwik became a victim of the elephant attack and his friends fled the forest.
Villagers at Kasubina Kunte almost roughed up Ashish and Anupam suspecting foul play, as they had spotted Satwik in their company in the evening. Police had detained the two for questioning on Saturday night till Satwik’s father got them released from custody.
This was why the two men perhaps chose to remain silent, the investigators said.
Says Anupam, “What we said is true. We don’t have any interest in suppressing information. After all, it is a great personal loss for us, too.”
“As we were coming back from the village towards Ragihalli hillock, Satwik went near a bush to relieve himself. When he did not return even after ten minutes, we went in search of him. Ashish and I went in different directions. For the next one hour, even we were lost. I couldn’t see or hear anything. Apparently, ten minutes later, Ashish heard a huge sound, something like an explosion and also saw something in the bushes.
He panicked and ran for his life and lost his slippers. He told us this on Saturday night,” Anupam said.
“Now, in hindsight, with the slippers being found 50 metres from where Satwik’s body was lying, I suspect that Ashish, who went in search of Satwik, had gone very close to the tusker that killed Satwik,” he said.
The forest department has lodged a complaint with the Bannerghatta Police on the three men, including Satwik, for trespassing a restricted reserve forest area without permission from the authorities. The Bannerghatta police have registered a case under the Indian Forest Act.
The police questioned Anupam and Ashish on Monday and took written statements regarding the incident from them.
Satwik Shastry’s family members and relatives were seen mourning at their Panduranga Nagar residence on Monday evening.When Deccan Herald visited the house, Dinesh Shastry, Satwik’s father, said all their hopes were belied and his son never returned home alive.
“I was hopeful even yesterday night. In fact, I was consoling my wife that Satwik would return alive. But her fears came true. Even now, my son’s loss hasn’t sunk in. I have lost Satwik who was like a friend to me from whom I took suggestions. Whom do I turn , now,” he said with tears.
Satwik’s mother Usha, a senior scientist at ISRO, wailed inconsolably. Sudheer, Satwik’s uncle, told Deccan Herald that the body had started to decompose as it was already two days since the incident.
“After autopsy, the body will be shifted to St John’s Hospital where it would be preserved. We will bring back the body on Tuesday morning and cremate it in the city,” he said.