On Wednesday night, before 23-year-old Dipti Sarna went missing, she was travelling in a shared autorickshaw that she boarded outside Vaishali Metro station. She was talking over the phone with Nivrat Sharma, a friend and former colleague from Bengaluru.
“She called me from the metro station. A few minutes later, she disconnected saying she had to call her father and ask him to come pick her from the old bus stand. She was to attend a party with her family. After talking to her father, she called me again,” Sharma, who boarded a flight on Thursday morning to reach Ghaziabad, said.
Dipti’s father said she called to tell him that she was about to reach river Hindon and that he should come pick her from the old bus stand. After that, she again called Sharma.
“While we were speaking, she started screaming. I kept asking her what was wrong, but she did not reply. It seemed like her mobile phone had fallen from her hand. I repeatedly kept calling her name but there was no response. I could only hear her screams. The call remained connected for another few minutes after which the number became unreachable. Without disconnecting, I called Dipti’s father from my other mobile phone and told him to rush to the spot,” he said.
Dipti’s family in Kavi Nagar, Ghaziabad, then repeatedly called her mobile number but could not reach her.
“The mobile was either ‘not reachable’ or remained ‘out of coverage’. We rushed to the spot but could not find her. We alerted the police immediately. I am still hopeful and waiting for my daughter. The last time we talked, she told me she would go with me to the party. She had boarded the auto from Vaishali Metro station. The police are trying their best but they haven’t been able to find my daughter,” said Narendra Sarna, Dipti’s father.
Sarna said Dipti was always careful and only hired shared autorickshaws. She has been travelling to Delhi for the past five years for her studies and later for work. She never hired an individual autorickshaw citing safety concerns. It was her usual practice to call her father when she reached river Hindon and ask him to come pick her from the old bus stand.
“Dipti always made sure that there were others in the autorickshaw before boarding it. We scanned all the CCTV footage at the metro station and found her in two recordings at 7.42 pm -- one had her exiting the station and the other captured her crossing the pedestrian bridge and walking towards the auto stand. The police have scanned the list of auto drivers who left the pre-paid auto booth but all in vain,” Sarna said.
Dipti’s parents said they were at the party venue when Dipti last called them to ask her father to pick her.
“She told me she would not go home to change her dress and that she would come directly to the party. I rushed to the old bus stand after Nivrat called me but she wasn’t there. I searched for her for hours but could not find her,” the father said.