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Mumbai siblings' death: Was it accident or double murder?


Smitha Nair,CNN-IBN
Sep 18, 2012 at 10:59am IST

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Mumbai: The Mumbai Police have exhumed the body of 22-year-old Rameez Chougule, the younger of the two siblings who were found dead at their flat in Versova in July this year. Rameez and his elder sister Rehab allegedly died due to pesticide poisoning after pest control operations at their apartment. The police had then called it "accidental deaths", drawing much criticism from the media and the people. On Monday, the police exhumed Rameez's body from the Yari Road graveyard, where he was buried just hours after his death on July 3.

In the immediate aftermath of the discovery of the dead bodies, the family of the victims had called in a local homoeopath, who after tests, claimed that Rameez died of gastroentritis and Rehab died of phosphide poisoning caused by aluminium phosphate, traces of which were found in her stomach.

The key question before the police now is to find out whether the deaths were purely accidental or a case of homicide.

The police are hoping that the post mortem report of Rameez's body would reveal more details.

DCP, Zone 9, Pratap Dighavkar says, "We have to probe how aluminium phosphate was found in Rehab's body. Was it accidental or a suicide or something else?"

While Rameez was found dead in his bedroom, Rehab died later, in the hospital.

The unanswered questions:

- Why was Rehab's viscera not kept for chemical analysis despite two private hospital bodies declaring it a medico-legal case asking for a post mortem of the body?

- Why did the police not inform forensics that doctors had cited history of poisoning?

- Why did the siblings’ mother, who lived with them, too insisted the death was natural and did not insist for an autopsy?

The pest control contractor and two suppliers were booked for culpable homicide and are now out on bail.

Police sources now say they are questioning the siblings' mother who was present at home during pest control and hope the exhumation of Rehab's body could provide a critical breakthrough in the case.

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