A senior executive of pharma major Nicholas Piramal remained untraceable for the fourth day on Monday while a Special Task Force joined police teams looking for leads in several cities in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan after he went missing.
The wife and father of Ashwini Bhat, President (Manufacturing) at the company's Pithampur plant near Indore, meanwhile made emotional appeals that he should not be harmed and suspected he may have fallen victim in a case of mistaken identity. The family has not received any ransom calls, police said.
The 49-year-old executive and his driver went missing on January 18 while returning to Indore in a car after attending an exhibition in Gwalior.
"Teams have been dispatched to different cities, including Indore (where he resides) and Gwalior and neighbouring Rajasthan but no headway has been made yet," a senior police officer told PTI.
"We are working on different theories," he said, adding the Madhya Pradesh Special Task Force has joined the search. Basanti Bhatt, who prayed for her husband's safe return, said "We have no enemies. We are salaried people. Wherever he is he should not be harmed."
Ashwini's father Prem Nath Bhatt said " he has reached this position after a lot of hard work. We don't have money. There has been a misunderstanding. He has been wrongly picked up. Please have mercy on us and on his children and spare him."
A police team, which had gone to Rajasthan's Dholpur district, found bloodstains in his abandoned car fuelling suspicion that the executive may have been abducted. Police also found a pair of shoes and a newspaper in the car left near a bus stand in Nihalganj police station area in Dholpur.
Bhat seems to have made the last call before he went missing from his mobile phone near Mohana town in Shivpuri district while on way to Indore after attending an industrial exhibition, Madhya Pradesh Expotech, 2008, in Gwalior, police said.
A resident of Indore, Bhatt had informed his family he would be back home on Friday night. However, after it was found that the mobile phones of Bhat and his driver were switched off, company officials informed police.
Meanwhile, Congress leaders used Bhatt's mysterious disappearance to stage a demonstration and `ghearoed' the police control room here alleging deterioration in law and order situation in the BJP-ruled state.
They also submitted a memorandum to Inspector General of Police D S Sengar seeking prompt police action in tracing Bhatt. Members of Kashmiri pandit community also staged a demonstration in front of the Divisional Commissioner's office and submitted a memorandum threatening to intensify their agitation if the police failed to trace Bhatt.