New Delhi: The deputy director of Delhi government’s Directorate of Information and Publicity (DIP), Nalin Chauhan has been missing for a week. According to his family members, Chauhan went missing from near his house the morning of 10 December.
The matter came to light after Chauhan’s wife Alpana put up a Facebook post a day after he disappeared. In it, she said Chauhan had been unwell since November due to Covid-19. He returned from the hospital on 5 December but was “disturbed due to post Covid stress”.
Chauhan’s family, including his 73-year-old father, wife and two children, had tested positive for the virus last month. While Chauhan was admitted in the hospital, the family was put in isolation in a government quarter adjoining the house. Last Thursday, reports showed the family had tested negative. About half an hour later, Chouhan went missing, according to his wife.
ThePrint reached Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia, who is also the minister in-charge of DIP, for a comment. However, calls and messages went unanswered till the time of publishing this report.
DIP secretary Manoj Kumar Dwivedi also did not respond to calls.
‘Chauhan in distress’
Alpana Chauhan said her 47-year-old husband was disturbed. “Nalin is diabetic. He tested positive on 20 November and was admitted to LNJP hospital on 22 November in the CCU and was discharged only on 5 December,” she told ThePrint.
“He was extremely worried about our health, very disturbed. He is a very religious and pious person. He wanted to get a puja done, but we told him that now isn’t the right time and will do so once everything is completely all right,” she said.
Alpana refuted reports that her husband had left behind a note stating he left of his own will. “This is absolutely misleading and wrong, there is no such note left behind by him. The police have apologised saying that there might have been some miscommunication to the press regarding this,” she said.
ThePrint contacted deputy commissioner of Delhi Police, North, Anto Alphonse for a comment via calls and messages, but he remained unavailable till the time of publishing this report.
On 14 December, the family posted another Facebook post to Nalin’s account, asking him to come back home.
“Dear Nalin, we want you to please know that the COVID test results from 10 Dec have come out negative for everyone in the family (including you). We all have recovered and with time and patience, you will also recover your health and be absolutely fine. We all love and care for you passionately and are extremely worried and distressed about you. Please come back to us,” the post read.
Police says investigation on
A missing report was filed at the North Delhi’s Civil Lines Police Station on 11 December.
Chauhan’s brother Bharat, who is based in Europe, took to Twitter Saturday seeking help from anyone who might have seen him. He claimed Nalin’s last known location was Transit Hostel, which are Delhi government officers’ flats, in North Delhi’s Civil Lines.
My brother Nalin Chauhan has been missing since 10 Dec'20. Last known location Transit Hostel, Delhi. He's a Deputy Director at Govt of NCT of Delhi. Being based in Europe I urgently seek help from his Colleagues/ Department and Delhi Government. @ArvindKejriwal @DelhiGovernment https://t.co/3egJpq8AgQ
— Bharat Chauhan (@BharatC73521889) December 12, 2020
Additional commissioner of police and additional PRO, Anil Mittal, confirmed to ThePrint that an FIR had been filed on 11 December.
“We have spoken to the family members and are investigating on the basis of the CCTV footage. Our team is investigating the case with utmost urgency,” another senior police officer told ThePrint.
According to the CCTV footage, Chauhan was seen leaving the campus gate, which is located about 1 km away from the government quarter. This was at 11:50 am on 10 December.
‘No communication from Delhi govt’
Alpana said the family was reaching out for help through social media since the Delhi government hasn’t directly contacted them.
“My husband has worked very closely with the CM and the Lieutenant Governor, but we haven’t been officially contacted by any government official,” Alpana said.
ThePrint contacted the Chief Minister’s Office through calls and mails, but didn’t receive a response.
Meanwhile, Nalin’s colleagues at DIP said he was a brave and hard working person. Jayadev Sarangi, former secretary of the department, said, “Nalin was among the most sincere and intelligent, and was very creative at his work too and often wrote blogs,” he told ThePrint.
The Indian Institute of Mass Communication’s alumni group has also been active in spreading information about Nalin, who is an alumnus.