THE RAILWAY police’s probe into the mysterious death of a 28-year-old woman, the wife of an Army lance naik, inside the recently fumigated retiring room of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), is likely to be called off with forensic test reports finding no poisonous substance in the viscera samples of the deceased.
The Government Railway Police’s (GRP’s) only theory on the probable cause of Nazia Khatun’s death on April 23 was that she had inhaled pesticides, left from the pest control fumigation done a few days earlier in the waiting room.
While GRP was banking on the forensic reports to prove that she had indeed inhaled poisonous substances, the report provides no such headway.
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Sources said the police would now likely maintain the status of the case as an accidental death and no FIR would be registered.
According to railway officials, on April 23, Lance Naik Zia Ur Rehman, posted in Pune, along with his wife Nazia, reached CST by the Madgaon Express and went to a Central Railway retiring room that they had booked beforehand.
The couple had purchased some food from the train’s pantry car and ate this for dinner. The couple, however, started feeling uneasy soon and shifted to another retiring room. However, their condition worsened and they were shifted to the nearby St George Hospital, where Nazia was declared dead.
The CST GRP probing the death found that on April 18, another person, who had used the retiring room, had complained of feeling uneasy and had been rushed to the hospital.
The GRP found that a pest control fumigation had been carried out on April 13 and the room was still stinking of pesticides on April 24, when the team reached the retiring room.
This convinced them that it was chemicals that might have led to the death. When the autopsy report of Nazia from the St George Hospital did not confirm the cause of death, the viscera of the deceased, along with stomach wash and blood samples of Rehman, were sent to the FSL to find the presence of poisonous substances.
While awaiting the report, the GRP had recorded statements of the pest control staff. “We had also planned to record the statements of the divisional commercial manager, who was responsible for the maintenance of the retiring room, and the station manager at CST, responsible for allotting the retiring rooms,” an officer said.
However, now that none of the 15 samples sent from the retiring room, including the stomach wash or any others, have tested positive for any poisonous substance, an FIR in the matter was highly unlikely, the officer said. He added that they had sent the forensic report to the St George Hospital to check it and give the exact cause of death.
GRP Police Inspector Manik Sathe, who has been probing into the case, confirmed that they received the forensic report and no poisonous substance was found. An official from the FSL, however, said it was normally difficult to detect the presence of a chemical that had been inhaled, as against poison that had been mixed in to something consumed by the victim.
In a similar case that took place in 2012, siblings Rehan and Rehan Chougle had passed away after they entered their room where pest control had been carried out. In that case, the police had chargesheeted the pest control contractor and the shop owner from where the chemicals had been purchased. That case is currently at the trial stage.