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Versova siblings were poisoned

The Forensics Scientists attached to the Toxicology Department of State Forensics Science Laboratory, Kalina have determined that the grey powder that was found two weeks ago at Panch Dhara building, Versova, where siblings Rehab and Rameez Chougle died, is Aluminium Phosphide.


Rehab Chougle

While senior scientists at the laboratory were tight-lipped about their findings, this reporter learnt from reliable sources within the laboratory that findings were ‘positive’ for Aluminium Phosphide and that the report will be submitted to Versova police in the coming week. The Choughle siblings are suspected to have died after a pest control treatment conducted at their home on July 3.

Rukmini Krishnamurthy, former FSL director and technical advisor institute of forensics science run by the state government, had earlier told this paper that if the residue of grey powder turns out to be suspected poison (Aluminium Phosphide), then it needs to be matched with the visceral samples of the deceased. In this case, exhumation and retrieval of the organs of the siblings is the only alternative to a post mortem surgeon preserving the viscera to prove the nature of poisoning, if at all.

A departmental inquiry has been initiated against the police officers who carried out a shoddy probe into the mysterious death of the siblings. A family doctor certified Rameez’s death as natural and his body was not sent for an autopsy, while in the case of Rehab, even though doctors had clearly mentioned to the Versova police that they were treating her for suspected poisoning by Aluminium Phosphide, the concerned police officer did not mention the same in the ADR form and did not insist that the forensics surgeon preserve the viscera of Rehab for Histopathology and Chemical Analysis findings.

Former chief public prosecutor and senior counsel Rohini Salian said, “The actions of the police officer seem suspicious. A proper inquiry should be conducted.”

Additional Commissioner of Police (West) Region Vishwas Nangre Patil added, “I have instructed the Zonal Deputy Commissioner of Police to probe the role of the said police officers of Versova police station and find if his act of negligence was bona fide. I will submit a detailed report to the DCP, and relevant action will be taken.”

The police are yet to issue a letter to Grant Medical College and JJ hospital, requesting them to form a medical committee and answer questions related to the death of the siblings. On the basis of the committee’s suggestions, the police will decide whether the body of Dr Rameez needs to be exhumed.

The hospital dean Dr TP Lahane confirmed to SMD that no such letter has been received from the police yet. 

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