Hyderabad: Four days after nine bodies were recovered from a well in Telangana's Warangal district, police have not reached to a conclusion whether it was a murder or mass suicide.
Multiples teams formed by Warangal police were making hectic efforts to gather evidence in the sensational case, which is proving to be a challenge for the investigators.
Bodies of all nine migrants, including six from one family, have been preserved after autopsy at Mahatma Gandhi Hospital (MGH) at Warangal. The hospital authorities said the bodies would be handed over to their families with the permission of police.
So far, no kin of anyone of the dead hailing from West Bengal, Bihar and Tripura have come forward to claim the bodies. The district officials said if nobody comes forward to claim the bodies, they will arrange the last rites.
The forensic teams on Sunday collected more samples as part of the investigations while police were questioning two men from Bihar, who were in close contact with Mohammed Maqsood Alam, who along with five members of his family, and three others were found dead.
The investigators have not yet reached a conclusion about the cause of the death and were waiting for results of some of the tests being done at Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL).
The police also reported to have recovered two mobile phones of Alam's family. In the absence of any CCTV cameras in the area around the well, the investigators are banking on the call data to get clues. Police were trying to identify the people the victims last spoke to.
The forensic teams also collected food samples from the houses of Alam and three other men found dead to find out if they were poisoned before the bodies were dumped into the well. The tests at FSL are expected to help them reach to conclusion if there was any poison in the liver or viscera. It may take 10 days or two weeks to get the test reports.
The preliminary tests by forensic experts indicate that seven of the victims were alive when they fell into well while two others were already dead. They believe that seven of the victims died of drowning.
"We found scratch marks on some of the bodies but we are still investigating how they occurred. We suspect that seven were alive when they fell into the well while two others were either sleeping or already dead when they were thrown into the well," said Dr Raza Malik who performed the autopsy, told reporters.
They included bodies of six members of one family. They were identified as Alam (55), a native of West Bengal working in gunny bag manufacturing unit in Warangal for last 20 years, his wife Nisha (48), daughter Bushra Khatoon (22), sons Shabaaz Alam (20), Sohail Alam (18) and Bushra.
The bodies of Sriram Kumar Shah (26) and Shyam Kumar Shah (21), both natives of Bihar, and Mohammed Shakeel (40) of Tripura were also recovered from the well. They were all workers in the same gunny bag manufacturing unit.
Initially Shakeel was identified as a local resident but subsequent investigations revealed that he had migrated from Tripura over two decades ago and had settled down in Warangal.
It is said that there was a birthday party at Alam's house on Wednesday and he had invited the three other men for the same.
For the last one-and-half month, Alam was living in a warehouse of a gunny bag unit with the permission of its owner. The bodies were found in the well near it.
Police sources said they were probing the case from all angles. They were trying to find out who else attended the party.
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