Forensic scientists attached to the Toxicology Department of State Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) in Kalina have concluded that Rameez Chougle (25), brother of Rehab (27) also succumbed to aluminium phosphide poisoning, like his sister.
The siblings Rameez and Rehab had died mysteriously within 24 hours of each other on July 3, after pest control was conducted in their apartment. Rameez’s body was exhumed on September 17. The FSL’s findings are likely to impart more clarity to the case.
The FSL submitted its findings to Versova police yesterday and also delivered a copy to the medical officer attached to JJ post mortem center where an autopsy was performed on the exhumed body of Rameez.
Speaking to MiD DAY, a senior scientist attached to FSL confirmed that residue of aluminium phosphide had been found in Rameez’s stomach, which clearly indicates that the lethal poison was not inhaled but consumed.
Samples from the lung clearly show traces of phosphine. Scientists explained that after the aluminium phosphide entered the stomach, phosphine gas was released.
Traces of aluminium were also found in the spleen, liver and kidney, which were part of the viscera. The scientists added, “Other samples will be examined gradually. We have established that the death was unnatural.” He added that no trace of poison had been found in the brain.
The FSL toxicology department had earlier found traces of aluminium phosphide in the stomach wash of Rehab.
M K Malwe, director of FSL, said, “We have already submitted the report to the police and they should decide on the course of investigation based on our findings.”
Rukmini Krishnamurthy, former FSL director, said, “The latest technology can lead to accurate analysis. FSL already has the required latest equipment and the expertise to accurately detect presence of poisonous material.”
Additional Commissioner of Police (West) Region Vishwas Nangre Patil said, “I will go through the reports and decide on the future course of action in the probe.”
The police made the first headway in the case by arresting Rukhsar Almekar, the woman who was contracted by the Chougle family to conduct pest control. Subsequently, the Borivli shopkeeper Hitendra Shah who supplied the chemicals and Pune-based chemical supplier P Parikh were also arrested. All three have been sent to judicial custody by the local Andheri metropolitan magistrate court.
Meanwhile a departmental inquiry had been initiated against the police officers who carried out a shoddy probe into the mysterious death of the siblings. In case of Rameez, a family doctor had certified his death as natural and his body was not sent for an autopsy.
In case of Rehab, the concerned officers from the Versova police station did not mention suspected poisoning in the ADR form, even though treating doctors at Kokilaben hospital and Criticare hospital clearly informed them that she was being treated for Aluminium Phosphide poisoning.
The police officers didn’t even ask the forensics surgeon to preserve the viscera of Rehab for histopathology and chemical analysis findings.