Missing Indian teen found drowned in British canal

Bangalore, Jan 23 (IANS) Souvik Pal, the 19-year-old Bangalore youth who went missing Dec 31 in Britain, was found drowned in a canal Tuesday at Manchester.

"We are shocked to hear that Souvik is no more after his father (Shantanu Pal) identified the decomposed body, which was recovered from the Westbridge canal in Manchester by search divers," Pal's family friend told IANS here Wednesday.

According to Manchester police chief detective Colin Larson, an autopsy will be conducted to ascertain the cause of Souvik's death as there were no visible signs or marks on his body to suspect any foul play. Manchester is about 320 km north of London.

"We have no further details. Souvik's family is yet to come to terms with the tragic incident after an agonising three week-long wait. Shantanu called his wife (Mahuya Pal) and broke the sad news that he was asked by the police to identify a body found in the canal," the friend said.

Police will hand over Souvik's body to Shantanu after autopsy by late Wednesday so that the family could decide whether to perform the last rites in Manchester or take it to Bangalore by flight.

"At this moment, our thoughts and condolences are with the family. We do not believe there is any suspicious reason over his death. The autopsy report may reveal the cause," Larson told the media late Tuesday.

Souvik, an engineering under-graduate student at the Manchester Metropolitan University since Sep 2012, was last seen at a nightclub on New Year eve and went missing later under mysterious circumstances.

A pall of glom descended on the Pals' house in the northern suburb of Bangalore with his mother being inconsolable after learning about Souvik's tragic end.

Shantanu, a civil engineer in Saudi Arabia, flew to Manchester Jan 4 to help police in the search operation and stayed back since then in the hope of locating his eldest son.

Souvik called his parents Dec 31 night to wish them a happy New Year and told them that he would be going with his friends to celebrate the New Year at a nightclub.

"We first came to know Jan 2 that our son was not seen in the hostel after the New Year party. A complaint was lodged by Souvik's friends with police," a tearful Mahuya had told IANS Jan 9.

Shantanu, who joined the Al Nahyan construction firm in Riyadh as an engineer last year, was in Bangalore then on a year-end holiday.

The Pals, who hail from Midnapore in West Bengal, have been living here since 2002 when Shantanu came to join Swedish major ABB India energy firm as an engineer.

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