Two young hotel management students from Jamshedpur and Calcutta were found dead on railway tracks near their cradle in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday.
Abhinav Panda (19) of Sidhgora and Koustav Dasgupta (19) of Behala (Calcutta) studied in their first year at Institute of Hotel Management Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition at VSS Nagar. They stayed in the college hostel and went missing since Tuesday night.
College authorities said a missing diary was lodged with Saheed Nagar police when the two students did not return for dinner. "During roll call at 10.30pm, we found that Abhinav and Koustav were missing from the hostel. We looked for them everywhere, but in vain. Then, we informed police," said hostel warden Tapan Kumar Pattnaik.
The GRP found the bodies on tracks, 10ft from each other, near VSS Nagar Postal Colony on Wednesday morning.
Koustav's father Kamal Dasgupta, a schoolteacher, reached Capital Hospital in Bhubaneswar in the morning and received his son's body.
Abhinav's parents ' his father is a Tata Steel employee ' reached in the evening. The family will receive the body after autopsy on Thursday.
"It seemed they were mowed down by a train. Abhinav was dragged for a distance. Their bodies bore marks of injuries. However, we cannot say for certain whether it was an accident or suicides," said an investigating officer.
S.M. Sidique, a senior lecturer of the college, rubbished the suicide theory. "They were meritorious students and never complained of anything. Their deaths seem accidental," he said.
Sources in the police too said that the students might have been a victim of a train mishap while using the tracks as a shortcut to their hostel.
"Had the students come in front of the train (in a suicide attempt), the driver would have seen them and issued a memo to the guard. However, it seems they were just walking too close to the tracks," said a policeman.