MUMBAI: In a tragic turn of events at a Versova housing society, two young siblings believed to be in their twenties died an unnatural death by alleged pesticide poisoning. Rehab and Rameez Chougule, children of a prominent female social worker of Versova, were rushed to hospital Wednesday after being found under “toxic shock”. Rehab passed away on Wednesday while her older brother Rameez, a homoeopathic doctor, died on Friday.
“The family had undertaken pest control work in its apartment on Tuesday after which the siblings arrived home. We hear that they forgot to open the windows and switched on the air-conditioner, leading the poisonous gas to circulate within the house,” said a member of Panch Dhara Society where the Chougules live. The intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday wrought disaster.
The building staff saw the family rush the two youngsters to hospital by car around 6.30am on Wednesday. The girl Rehab was said to be declared dead on arrival while her brother Rameez lost the battle for life on Friday. However, the family maintained a stoic silence over its loss. “We have not filed a police complaint and do not wish to discuss this matter either,” said a relative who arrived to pay condolence.
Versova police confirmed that no case of unnatural death had been filed over the past two days and society members said a doctor who lives in the apartment building was not approached for help. “We do not know which hospital Rehab and Rameez were taken to either,” said a neighbour. “We accompanied the girl’s corpse to the end of the lane during her funeral procession.”
Neighbours recall Rehab as the prettiest girl in the lane, always smiling and cheerful. Her mother is a member of Panch Dhara’s managing committee and is known to help poor and underprivileged students with opportunities in education. “She does not deserve to have both children pass away in this manner,” said a neighbour.