The Versova police,probing the mysterious death of siblings Rehab and Rameez Chougale within a span of 24 hours after pest-control was done at their residence on July 3, have compiled a list of shops from where illegal chemicals and tablets were allegedly sourced by arrested accused Rukshana Almekar. The shop owners concerned would be questioned to gather evidence in the case,police said.
Almekar,who has been booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder,had carried out the pest-control treatment at the Chougle residence.
Police said Almekar had given the police a list of shops from where she used to buy the chemicals and tablets that she used to carry out pest control. We are checking these shops; we will question their owners on why they supplied the relevant chemicals to Almekar without seeing her licence for conducting pest-control or permit for buying the banned tablets that we suspect were used, said an officer.
Alemkar,who was arrested last week,has been remanded in police custody till July 17. We have one more day until the next date for her production before a court,where we will try and extend the police custody to investigate the list of shops Almekar has given us, the officer said.
The police said Almekar was running an unauthorised and unregistered pest control agency on word-of-mouth basis. On July 3,Almekar had received a call from Farzana,the mother of the two siblings,for pest-control treatment at their apartment in Panch Dhara Building on Yari Road,Versova.
The police suspect the tablets used by Almekar during the pest-control were poisonous and illegal for such use.
Doctors at Criticare and Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital,where 27-year old Rehab the elder of the Chougle siblings was treated,have said that 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 Versova police had initially claimed that no pest-control exercise was done,they registered a case after Farzana said in her statement last Thursday that pest control had been carried out at their house some time before the deaths.
After the pest-control treatment on July 3,Farzana had closed the room and left the house. Rameez and Rehab returned home late at night. As the siblings were unaware of the pest-control treatment,they kept the doors and windows of their flat closed and also switched on the air conditioner. They soon started vomiting.
While the family took Rehab to Cooper Hospital,Rameez was declared dead by a local doctor. Rehab died the next day.