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Aluminium Phosphide traced to Borivli store

The Versova police have booked Jayesh Mehta for selling aluminium phosphide tablets to unlicensed pest control contractor Rukhsar Almelkar, who was arrested in the Versova siblings’ death case.


The truth is out: Rukhsar Almelkar, the accused, had revealed to the police that a dealer in Borivli had supplied her the tablets several times in the past, even though she did not have a licence to purchase the same. Pic/Satyajit Desai

Twenty boxes of aluminium phosphide were recovered from Mehta. The arrest was made after a police team from Versova police station raided the store, accompanied by a special Central Government officer for the enforcement of the Insecticides Act. Rukhsar accompanied the team.

On Saturday, Rukhsar had revealed to the police that a dealer in Borivli had supplied her the tablets several times in the past, even though she did not have a licence to purchase the tablets. On the same day, a police team had inspected the spot with Rukhsar. A raid was not conducted, as cops feared that the shop contained highly poisonous and deadly chemicals. The raid was conducted yesterday in the presence of the special officer. Cops revealed that more arrests are likely in the case.

Mehta and Rukhsar will both be produced at court today.

DCP of zone IX Pratap Dighavkar confirmed the arrest and said that a panchnama was being conducted at the store, so that relevant charges could be levelled against the accused.

On the run
Meanwhile, cops are still searching for Saleem, who had fumigated the Chougle residence. Saleem has been untraceable since the tragic deaths of Rameez and Rehab Chougle.

Investigations so far have revealed that the main arrested accused Rukhsar (32) had appointed an employee Saleem to conduct pest control at the siblings’ residence on Yari Road on July 3.

On July 3, Rukhsar had given instructions to Saleem and left the Chougle residence. After taking Rs 2,000 as charges from the siblings’ mother Farzana, Saleem left and did not contact Rukhsar.

Cops are now examining Saleem’s involvement in the deaths, and want to find out how he met Rukhsar.

“Neither has Saleem tried to contact Rukhsar since the deaths, nor has he approached the cops. This indicates that he is hiding something,” said senior police inspector Sharad Borse.

Was cautioned
Police have also recovered mobile phone records from Farzana’s phone, which prove that Rukhsar had cautioned her against entering the bedrooms before 24 hours had passed from the fumigation. Farzana in her police statement had denied that Rukhsar had apprised her of the necessary precautions to be taken after pest-controlling was done.

Sequence of events
On July 2, Farzana informed her kids that their apartment would be pest controlled. The following day, Rehab left home early for her BKC office. Rameez was on his way out, when Rukhsar and Saleem arrived. Rukhsar instructed Saleem to conduct pest control in the two bedrooms. Rukhsar also warned Farzana that no one should enter the rooms for 24 hours after the drugs were administered.

When Rameez came back home in the evening, Farzana left for a meeting, after leaving food for him in the kitchen and clothes in the outer room, as the bedrooms were out of bounds. Later in the evening, Rehab returned, and the siblings had dinner together. The two then lounged in the hall, till about 10 pm, when Farzana returned.

Rameez soon started vomiting and died immediately after, followed by Rehab’s hospitalisation and death.

Cops believe that the siblings might have entered the bedrooms to fetch their things, even though they were asked not to.

However, the use of aluminium phosphide tablets, the sale of which is prohibited without a licence, is said to have caused the deaths. Neither of the siblings realised that highly toxic chemicals had been used in their rooms. 

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