Mumbai: 5-year-old suffocates to death inside seized SUV in Ghatkopar

The police registered a case of accidental death but the family has raised questions about the mysterious circumstances around his death

A five-year-old boy who had gone out to play near his house in Ghatkopar was mysteriously found dead inside a locked car over two hours later. While the police have filed a case of accidental death, the family demands to know how the boy got locked inside in the first place.

Five-year-old Ibu got locked inside an impounded SUV kept near his house. The boy’s uncle, Abul Hassan, points out a small gap in the window’s rubber lining, from where air could enter the car, preventing suffocation. Pics/Rajesh Gupta
Five-year-old Ibu got locked inside an impounded SUV kept near his house. The boy’s uncle, Abul Hassan, points out a small gap in the window’s rubber lining, from where air could enter the car, preventing suffocation. Pics/Rajesh Gupta

Five-year-old Kurban Khan, also known as Ibu, lived at the Pesh Imam Chawl behind the Pankhe Shah dargah on LBS Road, Ghatkopar west. On Saturday, around 4 pm, the boy went out to play. His father was at work and his mother, Parveen, was busy with household chores. It was 6 pm by the time she noticed that Ibu hadn’t returned home. She began to look for him and asked other kids in the neighbourhood whether they had seen him. One of the kids told her he had seen Ibu inside a white Tavera at the nearby Damodar Park, where the police parks impounded vehicles.

“Parveen rushed there and opened the car’s door to find Ibu motionless inside,” said Ibu’s uncle Abul Hassan, who resides next door to the family. Hassan added that when Parveen found him, he was bleeding from the nose, but didn’t have any external injuries. The boy was rushed to a nearby private hospital and then to Rajawadi Hospital, where he was declared dead. However, the family kept the news of his death from Parveen, only disclosing it to her the next day, to try and lessen the shock.

Questions
Ibu’s father, Rahim, said he is still not aware what exactly caused his son’s death. “I don’t know what happened with my son. How did he get locked inside the car? And why was the car parked there so carelessly with its doors unlocked? I hope the police give answers to my questions,” he told mid-day.

The plot where the boy was found belongs to a local builder, who has allowed the police to park seized cars there. However, no security arrangements were made either by the builder or the police at the spot.

The deceased boy was laid to rest at a nearby graveyard on Sunday evening and the police registered an accidental death report (ADR). However, the family suspects there is more to the incident than meets the eye.

“Why wouldn’t I suspect something fishy when the boy was found in such circumstances? In such incidents, anyone would try to save himself, but there are no signs of struggle inside the car to show Ibu tried to escape. Police and the doctors told us that he died of suffocation, but there is a little opening in one of the window panes from where air could pass, so how could he have suffocated?” said the uncle, adding that the area was not deserted so someone would have heard Ibu if he had cried out. He further alleged that the police did not inspect the spot or the car thoroughly, and didn’t bother to check fingerprints in the car.

Police says
“The car in which the boy died was seized along with other cars by Crime Branch Unit VII in a case, and it has been parked there for long. It seems the boy entered the car, closed the door and failed to open it, leading to suffocation. The doctors who conducted the post-mortem also opined that the boy died of suffocation. Prima facie, there doesn’t seem to be any foul play, but we are probing the matter,” said Senior Police Inspector Rajendra Kulkarni from the Parksite police station.

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