Body of woman killed in Mundka fire mistakenly handed over to another family, say Delhi Police

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The body of a person who died in the fire in Delhi’s Mundka area was mistakenly handed over to another family, the police said on Thursday, reported PTI.

The body of a person named Sweety was mistakenly identified as Ranju Devi by her husband, who has cremated her, according to the police.

Sweety and Devi were among the 27 residents who had died after a fire had erupted in a four-storey commercial building near Mundka metro station in Delhi on May 13. Forty others were injured.

On Thursday, Deputy Commissioner of Police Sameer Sharma said that both women were of the same age and wore identical jewellery and clothes, according to The Indian Express.

The police said that the mix-up came to light after a DNA report on Wednesday showed that out of the five unidentified bodies at the hospital, one was of Devi.

Medical Superintendent of Sanjay Gandhi Hospital, SK Arora, said that the body was handed over to Devi’s family only after they had identified it, The New Indian Express reported. “Such errors are humane and it is nobody’s fault,” he added.

Sweety’s family said they thought that her body was among those that were yet to be identified.

“What is there to be done now?” Sweety’s brother-in-law Ratan Singh told The Indian Express. “Somebody else has cremated her. We waited so long only to realise that there is no body anymore…We do not even know who to blame…The authorities should take some responsibility as they were conducting the DNA tests.”

On the other hand, Devi’s family said they were shocked at the turn of events.

“We had already cremated the body thinking that it was Ranju,” Devi’s husband, Santosh, said. “Then we received a call from the police telling us that we must have taken the wrong body and that Ranju’s body was still in the mortuary.”

The Mundka fire

Two brothers – Harish Goel and Varun Goel – had occupied three floors of the building near the Mundka metro station for rent for their company that manufactured close-circuit television cameras and WiFi routers.

Authorities said that the building did not have a fire clearance and had only one exit route, leading to the high casualties.

The Goel brothers were arrested and charged under Indian Penal Code Sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), 120 (concealing design to commit an offence punishable with imprisonment), 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention).

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