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Body exhumed for murder probe after PMO intervenes

Monday, January 18, 2010 11:30:23 AM, Quaid Najmi, IANS

Mumbai: Seven months after he died due to "cardiac arrest", the body of a man was exhumed from a Mumbai graveyard Saturday for an autopsy to probe his suspected murder - thanks to the intervention of the Prime Minister's Office.


Though Abdul Sattar's wife Salma had told his family members that he died of a possible cardiac arrest on June 22 last year, their 11-year daughter Qayenat alleged her mother and her paramour had killed him.


"We knocked all doors - the Thane police, Maharashtra government and even the Prime Minister's Office in our quest for justice. Finally, the PMO responded to our plea and in a letter dated Sep 18, 2009, directed the state chief secretary to have the matter investigated," Sattar's brother Abdul Qadir told IANS.


The order to exhume Sattar's body was given by a Thane court last week, he said.


Sattar, 49, who worked in Dubai as the manager in a supermarket, had come to India for six months in December 2008 and was living in Mumbra, a suburb of Thane.


On June 22 last year, a weeping Salma called up Qadir and other family members and told them Sattar had died, possibly due to cardiac arrest.


Though Sattar enjoyed good health, the family did not suspect anything and brought the body to Mumbai where it was buried in the Chandanwadi Muslim cemetery.


The following day, during a post-death prayer meeting, Qayenat stunned the large gathering of mourners by claiming that her father was murdered by Salma.


Taken aback by the girl's allegation, the family asked her to come out with the entire truth behind her father's death and she revealed that her mother was very friendly with Akbar Chaudhary, who lived in the nearby Accord Apartments in Thane.


"She said that three days before his death, Chaudhary had come to their home and had a bitter fight with her father," said Qadir's lawyer, Syed Raavi Abbas.


Chaudhary demanded that Sattar should divorce Salma as he wanted to marry her. When he refused, Chaudhary assaulted Sattar, he added.


Sattar's family members now also suspect that Salma could have fed him something which may have hastened his death.


Apprehensive for the safety of Qayenat - the sole eyewitness in the case - Qadir took her to his home in Mumbai. Salma also reached there and demanded Qayenat be given to her but the family refused.


Sattar's uncle, Mohammed Iqbal said that within hours of her husband's death, Salma had siphoned off all her husband's money, jewellery and other assets.


"We decided to get at the truth behind my brother's mysterious death since he was always hale and hearty. Finally, we now hope that justice may be done," Qadir said.


Abbas said that the exhumed body will be sent for an autopsy to the Sir J.J. Hospital. Based on the autopsy report, police will take further steps.







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