The Chougle siblings’ mysterious death has taken a dramatic turn, with their parents having disappeared from their Versova home. Cops confirmed that their phones were also switched off. Their disappearance is sure to compound the problems in the case.
Scientists attached to the Toxicology department of the State Forensics Science Laboratory, (FSL) Kalina, submitted their findings to Versova police on Monday. On the same morning, the Chougle couple locked up their fifth floor flat in Panch Dhara society, Versova and left. This has baffled senior IPS officers who are supervising the case.
Cops are also questioning why the Chougles left without informing anybody.
Senior counsel and former chief public prosecutor Rohini Salian expressed concern over the sudden disappearance of the parents from the city. “The mother has been misleading the police right from the beginning and it is very important for the police to question her to get the truth.”
She said, “The police has concluded that Rehab died due to Aluminum Phosphide poisoning. It is even more important for the police to find out the exact reason behind the death of her younger brother Rameez, whose body was buried soon after his family members obtained a death certificate that said he died a natural death. Rameez’s body needs to be exhumed in order to clear doubts,” said Salian.
Rukmini Krishnamurthy, former director, FSL, and advisor to the Institute of Forensics Science, said, “If the police exhume Rameez’s body, we will have the chance to extract residues of Aluminum Phosphide from the organs if they are intact, and traces can also be extracted from the soil where the body was buried.”
Additional Commissioner (West) Region Vishwas Nangre Patil expressed surprise when he learnt that the Chougle parents had departed from their flat on Monday. He said, “I am out of Mumbai and will return in two days. I will enquire with my officers and comment thereafter.”
A police officer said, “We were initially suspecting that Rehab inhaled Phosphine gas and the death was accidental, but now with traces of Aluminum Phosphide being found in the stomach wash, we have to probe if it was a case of homicide or suicide. But unless their mother is questioned thoroughly, it would be challenging for us.” The police have not made any headway in arresting Salim, the man who was assigned the task to of conducting pest control at the Chougle residence by Rukshar, who was earlier arrested for using Aluminum Phosphide.
Mother’s behaviour suspicious
Farzana Chougle denied having conducted pest control on July 6, after the deaths. She also wanted cops to find out how the media learnt about the pest control angle. She threatened to kill herself when cops said there was a possibility of Rameez’s body being exhumed. Rehab’s father Gayasuddin soon confirmed that pest control had indeed been conducted. Two days later, Farzana too admitted that arrested accused Rukhsar had conducted pest control. However, she insisted that Rukhsar had not suggested any safety measures. The fact that Rukhsar had indeed briefed Farzana was later confirmed through phone records. It is said that even at the hospitals, Farzana did not talk to doctors, and failed to apprise them about the pest control.
‘Aluminum Phosphide unheard of’
Scientists attached to FSL said this is the first time they have come across a case for examination where Aluminum Phosphide was found. The team found three grams of grey powder from one of the bedrooms. Upon examination of the greyish powder and Rehab’s stomach wash, we concluded that both the powders were Aluminum Phosphide,” said a scientist. Krishnamurthy said, “Use of Aluminum Phosphate is unheard of. We have examined lots of cases of pesticide death, but Alumninium Phosphide was not used in any of the cases."