The body of a 35-year-old woman, who is believed to have fallen into an open manhole in Ghatkopar on Saturday, was found floating in the Arabian Sea near Haji Ali — approximately 17 km away — late Sunday.
The woman, Sheetal Dama, a resident of Shivaji Nagar near Asalfa village in Ghatkopar, had gone to buy wheat flour at a nearby mill around 6.30 pm on Saturday. It was pouring heavily at the time.
As there was no sign of her after that, her husband Jitesh tried looking for her in the neighbourhood. After failing to locate Sheetal — the mother of a 12-year-old son and two-year-old daughter — he approached the Ghatkopar police, which filed a missing persons’ report. In his statement to the police, Jitesh said his wife had gone to buy wheat flour at a nearby mill and had been missing since.
“We went to Shivaji Nagar and found the bag that she was taking home from the mill. When we checked with the flour mill owner, he said that she had taken the flour. So, we learnt that she went missing between 6.30 pm and 6.45 pm,” said an officer.
As the bag was found near the open manhole, the police concluded that Sheetal fell into it, as she may not have seen it due to the heavy downpour.
More than 24 hours later, a woman’s body was found floating near Haji Ali. Police retrieved the body and took it to Nair hospital, where the woman was declared dead before admission. Following this, the Tardeo police sent a wireless message to all police stations along with the detailed description of the deceased.
“The Ghatkopar police approached us,” said an officer from Tardeo police. Jitesh was called in to identify the body.
“He identified her on the basis of Sheetal’s clothes and jewellery. After postmortem, the body was handed over to the family. Her last rites were conducted early in the morning,” said the officer, adding that the Tardeo police has registered a case of accidental death.
Amid allegations of negligence, the BMC has ordered an inquiry under Deputy Municipal Commissioner (Infrastructure) Sanjay Darade, who has been asked to submit a report in 15 days.
“The investigation will check if the woman fell into a nullah or a manhole. Since her body was found near Haji Ali, the civic officials will check how it travelled such a distance. After the report arrives, further action will be taken,” said Mayor Kishori Pednekar.
Three years ago, a senior doctor had drowned in an open manhole at Elphinstone Road area while returning home. Dr Deepak Amrapurkar fell in a manhole that was opened by local residents following waterlogging in the area. His body was found after a day at Worli Koliwada in the sea.
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