Mundka fire: Man claims body of his wife cremated by family of other victim | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Mundka fire: Man claims body of his wife cremated by family of other victim

By, New Delhi
Jun 24, 2022 12:42 PM IST

NEW DELHI: Manoj Kumar, 40, had been waiting for authorities to hand over the remains of the body of his wife Sweety, 32, who was among the 27 people charred to death in a devastating fire in a CCTV assembling unit in north-west Delhi’s Mundka on May 13

Manoj Kumar, 40, had been waiting for authorities to hand over the remains of the body of his wife Sweety, 32, who was among the 27 people charred to death in a devastating fire in a CCTV assembling unit in north-west Delhi’s Mundka on May 13. On Wednesday, the police informed him that his wife’s body may have been cremated by the family of another victim in a case of ‘mistaken identity’.

The Mundka fire is one of the worst fire incidents that Delhi has seen since the 2019 Anaj Mandi tragedy that claimed 43 lives.(Raj K Raj/Hindustan Times) PREMIUM
The Mundka fire is one of the worst fire incidents that Delhi has seen since the 2019 Anaj Mandi tragedy that claimed 43 lives.(Raj K Raj/Hindustan Times)

“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I was shocked,” said Manoj, who works with a private firm.

The police suspect that the family of Ranju Devi, another worker of the factory, might have claimed and cremated Sweety’s body, mistaking it for Devi’s.

Ranju Devi was among eight people, of the total 27 casualties, whose bodies were identified by their relatives within a day of the tragedy. According to the police and Sanjay Gandhi Hospital (where the bodies were kept) authorities, since the bodies were charred beyond recognition, most remain unidentified, leading them to conduct DNA tests on each one of them.

However, Ranju Devi’s relatives claimed a body, recognising it by the nail paint she was wearing. She was among the first eight victims whose remains were claimed by their families on May 14 after recognising them by some distinct marks. The bodies were cremated the next day, according to the police.

The police had asked for DNA samples from families of all the victims to ensure that bodies are handed over the rightful claimant. As of Thursday, according to the police, samples of 25 victims have matched and their bodies were handed over to their families.

The Sanjay Gandhi Hospital’s mortuary had five bodies till Thursday. Four of them, Ranju Kumari, Soni Kumari, Monika, and Parveen, were handed over to their relatives after a DNA match.

Now, with just one unclaimed body in the mortuary, and two unmatched DNA samples -- that of Geeta Devi and Sweety. Since Ranju Devi’s was identified on Thursday only, and the fact that her relatives had already claimed a body and cremated it, the police suspect that Ranju Devi’s relatives might have claimed Sweety’s body instead. “Mortal remains of only victim is left in the mortuary and there are two victims whose DNA samples have not matched yet. There might be a possibility that Ranju Devi’s relatives had mistakenly claimed Sweety’s body. But, we can reach a conclusion only after final forensic reports,” a senior police officer said.

For Geeta Devi, her two siblings had given a DNA sample, Ranju Devi’s son had provided the sample and DNA samples of Sweety were taken to identify her body.

At the Sanjay Gandhi Hospital, the families of Ranju Devi and Sweety got into a scuffle on Thursday.

“Ranju’s husband Santosh has committed a mistake, and identified the wrong body. Because of them, we have lost the right to perform last rites of Sweety. I am shocked and angry,” Manoj Kumar said.

He added that he had been waiting for over a month to get the body of his wife and perform the funeral which could have given him “some closure”.

Both Ranju Devi and Sweety were residents of Bhagya Vihar, a locality where most of the workers in the CCTV factory lived.

Ranju Devi’s husband, Santosh, a daily wage labourer, said he had to struggle to manage money required to perform the funeral. “It looked like it was Ranju’s body, and we claimed it and cremated it. I didn’t even have enough money to perform the last rites. The police helped me,” he said.

Deputy commissioner of police (Outer) Sameer Sharma said, “Two DNA profiles are pending in Forensic Science Laboratory for confirmation. For Geeta Devi’s body, a detailed analysis is being done.”

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