Zambian woman’s mysterious death gets murkier, capsules with powder recovered from her body after post mortem

Two of the capsules containing some powder which the police among other things suspect to be some kind of drug had burst in her body.

Written by Navjeevan Gopal | Amritsar | Published: July 4, 2015 9:55:18 pm

The mysterious death of Zambian woman Twala Keltha who died after being sent back by Pakistan last week got murkier after her post mortem revealed that she had as many as 50 capsules in her abdomen, intestine and in the cavity area.

Two of the capsules containing some powder which the police among other things suspect to be some kind of drug had burst in her body. The doctor who conducted post mortem suspects that the content of capsules which was absorbed in the body of woman resulted in her death.

Sources told that each capsule had about 15 grams of powder and was attached with a tag to pull out from the cavity. Amritsar (Rural) Senior Superintendent of Police Jasdeep Singh said the powder would be sent for chemical examination at Forensic Science Laboratory at Chandigarh on Monday.

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Sources told that the jacket alone of each of the capsules was about five grams in weight, something which has baffled the medical experts and the investigating agencies.

“We have to see what could have been the shell life of the capsule jackets since its weight is unusual,” said SSP Jasdeep Singh.

He said only after the report it could be ascertained whether the woman consumed capsules on Indian side or consumed it in Pakistani side or were forced to consume the capsule in Pakistani side before she was sent back to Pakistan.

For record, about 40-year-old Keltha, who was on a business trip to India on the invitation of a Maharashtra based company, had reached Attari on June 25 and wanted to go to Pakistan.

As she did not have the visa, the Indian authorities spoke to their Pakistani counterparts who agreed to grant her visa on arrival. But, when she crossed over to Pakistnai side from Attari, Pakistani authorities told the Indian authorities that she was not being granted visa on arrival.

By that time, the office of Indian authorities at Attari had closed down. Keltha reportedly spent night somewhere in Pakistani side and was handed over to authorities in India in a semi-conscious state on June 26. She was later rushed to hospital in Amritsar where she died.

An official privy to the investigations said that the post mortem report findings raises eyebrows why she was reluctant to undergo CT scan and X-Ray.

The incident has also laid threadbare the infrastructure at Attari ICP to check smuggling, if it was a case of “body carrier”, said an official.

A customs official, pleading not to be named, told that “only body scanners could have detected the capsules”. The official said Customs could think of recommending installation of body scanners at Attari.

“Such a mechanism of smuggling is very old method of smuggling. Since it was not metal, it was not detected at the metal detector at the facility. We will be investigating what exactly was there in the capsules. We are not sure as of know whether the woman had capsules in Indian territory or Pakistani territory,” said SSP Jasdeep Singh.

He told that the family of Keltha had been located but they decided against visiting India to take her body home.

“She was buried today after an official of Embassy of Zambia visited Amritsar on Friday and gave his go ahead to conduct post mortem and bury her. We will be questioning the officials of Maharashtra based company as well who had invited her to India on a business trip,” said SSP.

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