An autopsy was conducted on the exhumed body of Rameez Chougle yesterday. According to senior forensic surgeons attached to the Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology at JJ Group of hospitals and Grant Medical College, a team of three doctors headed by Assistant Professor (forensic) A H Meshram, Dr S V Khandare, and Dr M K Shelke, conducted the autopsy on the highly decomposed remains of Rameez. The entire process was videographed and pictures were also taken.
The body was in a macerated condition, and though all organs were not found to be intact, they could still collect some tissues from organs, which were then preserved. Hair clippings were also collected. Tissue samples were taken to ascertain the presence of Aluminum Phospide, which is a metallic compound.
The samples collected will be sent for chemical analysis to the state forensic science laboratory in Kalina. The cause of death is to be ascertained by those findings.
Rukmini Krishnamurthy, former state forensic science laboratory (SFSL) director said, “On exhumation of the body, there are high chances that microorganisms inside the soil may not have eaten up all the soft tissues. But even if no soft tissues are found, the nail, hair and bones will still have poisonous residue, as it is a case of suspected metallic poisoning, which usually deposit on these places for months even after the body is laid to rest. Also, soil samples from the grave would have presence of metallic poison.”
Asked if the forensic scientists would be able to conclude if the poison was inhaled or consumed, Krishnamurthy replied in negative, stating that the findings can only confirm the presence of poison in the body at the time of death. The police would have to rely on circumstantial evidence and other scientific methods to tie up the loose ends.
A panel of forensic experts under the chairmanship of police surgeon S M Patil had instructed the police to exhume the dead bodies of Rameez and Rehab, but for unknown reasons, they exhumed only Rameez’s body.
A member from the panel, clarified that the panel had recommended the exhumation of both the bodies to ascertain the level of Aluminum Phosphide poisoning. They also wanted to rule out any possible foul play, as the stomach wash had been kept in Criti Care hospital unattended for a few days before the police collected it.
Meanwhile, a senior police officer clarified that the only reason they did not exhume the remains of Rehab was because the autopsy surgeon at Cooper hospital in his final report concluded that she died due to Pnuemonitis in a clinically diagnosed case of Phosphine poisoning.