Juhu building fire: Is unclaimed body of a young gas repairman?

Sep 14, 2017, 10:39 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

A fireman at the fire site in the under-construction building. File Pic
A fireman at the fire site in the under-construction building. File Pic

One of the nine, who were charred to death in the fire in an under-construction building in Juhu, is still waiting to be claimed at the Cooper post-mortem centre. Charred beyond recognition, the police haven't been able to ascertain the deceased's identity, and hence, unable to trace the nearest kin.

A source said, "Currently, the body is identified with the tag number '1119' and token number 72. It's been kept in the mortuary's cold storage, awaiting claimants."

Also read: Juhu fire: Nab culprits, pay Rs 50 lakh to kin of the deceased, says NGO

"Apart from sustaining deep thermal burns, which led to their death, the deceased also had carbon particles in their respiratory tracks," the source added.

On September 6, nine workers were charred to death. The eight seriously injured are being treated at Cooper hospital; two of them are said to be critical.

The Juhu police have arrested builder Manish Kabra under various sections of the IPC.

The missing man
The missing man

Puzzle pieces missing
Dhansingh Dasna, 32, a resident of Indian Oil MHADA colony in Ghatkopar West, whose brother Shambusingh, 22, has been missing since the fire, is certain that the unclaimed body is his. Yesterday, he and other family members gave their blood samples for DNA tests.

Dhansingh said, "We are sure the body is Shambusingh's. But we can't even mourn his death properly, as the police have said they will be able to hand over the body to us only once they get the DNA report."

Also read: Juhu building fire: Cops file FIR against builder, contractor

Dhansingh said he found out about his brother going missing on the afternoon of September 7. He got a call from Rajesh Prajapati, a partner at Mehul Gas Services in Andheri West, where Shambusingh worked as a gas repairman.

"I rushed to the shop and was told that my brother had left to attend to a gas repair call and not returned.

We started searching for him all over, including hospitals and mortuaries, but could not find him. The next day, we pressured Prajapati and he revealed that Shambusingh had gone to the under-construction building in Juhu," said Dhansingh.

The DN Nagar police registered a missing person complaint and found Shambusingh's last mobile location near the ill-fated building.

Also read: Juhu Building Fire: Family, friends come to look for living and dead

What the police say
Senior inspector of D N Nagar police Parmeshwar Ganame said, "We have found out that the gas agency wasn't an authorised agency of either HP or Bharat Gas. As the case is with the Juhu police, further investigation will be done by them."

"After the relatives came forward to claim the unidentified body, we got a possible name and ID for the deceased. Once we get the DNA report from the forensic lab in Kalina confirming the same, we will hand over the body to the family," said Juhu police's senior inspector Sunil Ghosalkar. When asked if they would take action against the gas service provider, he said, "Our investigation is going on."

Report misleading?
The Watchdog Foundation has sent a letter to the police commissioner, highlighting the serious lapses that led to the fire in the under-construction building. Commissioner Datta Padsalgikar has now asked joint CP (law and order) to look into it. Advocate Godfrey Peminta told mid-day, "We have every reason to believe that the report submitted by the architect and licence surveyor on record deliberately makes no mention of presence of labour camps in the building's basement. The camps should have formed part of the original approved plan, and if the work deviated from that, the architect and licence surveyor should have submitted the amended plans to the Building Proposal department, showing presence of labour camps at the site."

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