Criticare and Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani,the hospitals where 27-year old Rehab the elder of the Chougle siblings who died within a span of 24 hours was treated,said she was being treated for suspected aluminium phosphide poisoning. It is a restricted chemical normally used as a fumigant to repel rodents in agriculture.
While the police are yet to obtain details of the grey powder retrieved from the Chougle apartment at Panchayat Dhara building located in Yari Road,pest control experts said use of aluminium phosphide is strictly prohibited for domestic purposes.
Dr Deepak Namjoshi,medical director of Criticare Hospital where Rehab was first taken,said: When she came to us initially,she had abdominal pain and diarrhoea but was fine enough to tell us about the pest control treatment in the house. However,as the day progressed,her condition rapidly deteriorated. Her family then checked with the pest control agency and got back to us saying aluminium phosphide had been used.
As her lung functions rapidly deteriorated,doctors shifted Rehab to Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital (KDAH) where she was immediately taken to the emergency room. Rehabs condition was very bad when she came in. Her blood pressure was extremely low and she was hardly breathing. Doctors tried to revive her for almost 24 hours but she died of multiple organ failure, said Dr Ram Narain,medical director of KDAH.
Any person with some basic knowledge of chemicals will know that aluminium phosphide is strictly prohibited for domestic purposes. Synthetic pyrethroids,which are normally used,are odourless and do not leave any residue. But since aluminium phosphide is cheaper and more easily accessible,it is adulterated and used by many for pest control, said Stelson Quadros,secretary of the Indian Pest Control Association (IPAC),a non-profit trade association of professional pest management companies.
Rukhsar Almelkar,who owns the pest control agency that conducted the exercise at the Chougle residence on July 3,was not available for comment. Her sister said she was unaware of the agencys name and claimed Almelkar had gone out of town.
The Versova police investigating the mysterious death Rameez and his sister Rehab have now decided to call in the agency that conducted the pest control. Additional Commissioner of Police (West) Vishwas Nangre-Patil has ordered the Versova police to submit a report on the pest control agency that Gayasuddin Chougle,the father of the siblings,named in his statement to the police on Thursday.
Gayasuddin confirmed that pest control operation was conducted in their flat on July 3. Nangre-Patil added that the stomach wash of Rehab obtained from Criticare Hospital had been sent to the Kalina Forensic Laboratory in Santacruz for analysis.