The Kalina Forensic Laboratory (FSL) has informed the Narpoli police that it was unable to retrieve DNA from the body of one of those killed when the Jilani building in Bhiwandi collapsed in September.
The police had been keen on conducting a DNA test on the body after relatives of Shabnam Shaikh had refused to believe that the body recovered from the rubble was hers.
“The test was inconclusive,” senior Inspector M Shinde of Narpoli police station said.
Shabnam, missing since September 21 when the building collapsed, has been counted by the local administration among one of the 38 who died in the accident. During rescue operations, a body recovered from the rubble was identified by the administration as that of Shabnam’s but her family insisted that it was not her.
“She is my younger sister and nobody knows her better then me. I am certain that the body doesn’t belong to her,” Shabnam’s sister Nilofer had told The Indian Express last month.
While the family was not initially ready to accept the body, they decided to perform the last rites in October – almost two weeks after the accident – after the administration and the police promised that a DNA test would be conducted on the body.
The police said that for the DNA test, blood samples of Shabnam’s mother and nail, hair and teeth samples from the unidentified body were collected and sent to the laboratory. The report was received by the police last week.
A senior official from the FSL said, “If there is any biological growth on the body or on the samples submitted, it becomes difficult to get the DNA of that person. In this case, the body was under debris for multiple days, due to which fungus or bacteria must have grown over it. The samples must have degraded, which affected the results.”
The family believes Shabnam’s body got swapped with another victim and that she was buried by some other family. “The family submitted a no objection certificate at the police station after initially objecting to accepting the body and also conducted the last rites in the second week of October. So, this matter has been closed,” said Shinde.
When contacted, Nilofer said on Tuesday, “After the influential people in the area intervened, we decided to accept the unclaimed body as Shabnam’s and conducted the final rites. We know where the other family has buried her remains.”
Meanwhile, another victim of the collapse, two-and-a-half-year old Museb Qureshi, is still missing as his body could not be recovered from the debris. His father Shabir, who lost his wife Parveen and daughter Mariyam in the accident, said: “For a month, I went to the collapse site every day and looked for my son in the debris. But since a week ago, I have stopped going there.”
His two elder sons, Sadiq and Shahid, who were rescued from the debris, are being taken care of by their grandmother. “I keep roaming around, I don’t feel like renting another flat, as it will remind me of my wife and children even more,” said Shabir.
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