Mumbai: Mystery shrouds death of 5-year-old who fell from 15th floor

Updated: Sep 26, 2019, 16:34 IST | Anurag Kamble |

Byculla residents Ashok and Arati Ingle lost their only daughter Manavi to a fatal fall from the lobby outside their 15th floor residence, but nobody knows whether she fell or was thrown out

Manavi fell at this spot in the parking lot. Pics/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Manavi fell at this spot in the parking lot. Pics/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

Byculla residents Ashok and Arati Ingle lost their only daughter Manavi to a fatal fall from the lobby outside their 15th floor residence in the Vighnaharta housing society on Monday, but nobody knows whether she fell from the floor or was thrown out. On the radar of the police are neighbours who had enmity with the family and had burned her uniform a couple of days ago.

The spot from where Manavi Ingle (left) is suspected to have fallen
The spot from where Manavi Ingle (left) is suspected to have fallen

Getting ready for school
The incident occurred around noon on Monday, when Ashok was readying Manavi for school. Arati had left for work at 7.30 am. Ashok was chopping apples for her in the kitchen while she was sitting outside. After he was done cutting the fruit, Ashok came out and found Manavi missing. While he was looking for her, Sunil Bhosale, a sanitation worker in the building, came running to their home yelling, “Manavi padli” (Manavi has fallen). Ashok went downstairs, but all he saw was a dent in an Indica car, and pieces of glass strewn around a pool of blood, where his daughter had fallen minutes ago. Some residents told him that the security guard took Manavi to the KEM Hospital, where she was declared dead on arrival.

Also Read: Mumbai: 11-yr-old falls to death trying to rescue a bird

A mysterious fall
The guard found Manavi under a parked Omni. But what remains a mystery are the circumstances under which she fell from the floor. The place from where she is supposed to have fallen has a 4.5ft wall. Beyond the wall, there is also a 3ft parapet. “Even if we consider that Manavi came by herself to the place, and tried to climb up the wall, which is next to impossible, still she could have landed on the parapet. It’s really tough to believe that she climbed up and fell from the 15th floor,” said an officer probing the case. The CCTV located at the car parking has captured Manavi’s fateful fall at 12.23 pm, after which the security guard is running towards the spot where she fell.

“I was talking to a guard when I heard a loud thud. The guard and me ran towards the sound and found broken pieces of glass from an Indica on the floor. The front mirror was broken and there were blood spots there. Just then, we saw two legs under the Omni van, which was parked next to Indica,” said Bhosale. “The guard took out the body and we saw that it was Manavi. She was profusely bleeding, so the guard took her to the hospital and I ran to inform her father” he added.

Family suspects foul play
“Manavi was a bright kid. The wall that she is supposed to have climbed is more than four feet tall and she cannot climb that. We suspect someone strangulated her or closed her mouth and threw her from the 15th floor. That’s why we have requested for post-mortem. We requesting the police to carry out a detailed investigation,” said Gautam Ingle, Manavi’s uncle.

Read Story: Mumbai: Woman slips, falls to death while watering plants in balcony

Neighbours questioned
Nothing is known about the circumstances leading to Manavi’s death. Cops have questioned the neighbours and are suspicious of one family that had recently fought with the Ingles. “A fortnight ago, a small fight had taken place between the Ingle family and one of their neighbours, after which their neighbour burnt Manavi’s school uniform,” a cop said.

The fight started when Arati came home from work and found their neighbour sitting outside his house in his innerwear. Arati had objected to this and asked him to sit in his house with those clothes else she would complain to the police. The argument intensified after Ashok intervened. Next day, he found Manavi’s school uniform burning in front of his house. The horrified family reported the incident at the Byculla police station.

“We called their neighbours and questioned them, they apologized and offered money to compensate the burned uniform and matter was settled,” the officer added. “When I came home last night, I saw Manavi playing outside. I called out to her and she waved at me. She was such a sweet girl. I don’t understand how this incident happened. We are really shocked,” said Umesh Sutar, a neighbour.

The Byculla police registered an accidental death report and filed an FIR under Section 302 (murder) against an unknown suspect after taking down Ashok’s statement.

Building was going to install safety net
Manavi fell from outside her home just a day before the housing society was set to install steel nets on each floor. “We had received complaints of residents throwing garbage from the common passage, that’s why we had planned to place a steel net on each floor. Work was schedule to start from Monday, but it was rescheduled to Tuesday. Had it been started today, who knows, the incident wouldn’t have occurred,” said Sunil Ugwe, joint secretary of Vighnaharta housing society.

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