In a macabre incident, a group of persons were caught in a sting operation while celebrating a birthday party on the autopsy table inside the morgue of a civic-run hospital in the dead of the night, police said.
The ghastly celebrations took place in the post-mortem room, adjacent to the morgue with several bodies kept there, on the eve of Holi, around 1.30 a.m. on Friday, said Senior Police Inspector M.B. Patil of Bhayander Police Station.
“Based on a complaint filed by a journalist, we have registered a first information report and are conducting further investigations. No arrests have been made so far,” Patil told IANS.
According to journalist Anil Nautiyal, in the wee hours of March 18, he got a tip-off about the party with liquor flowing freely, in full swing inside the autopsy room of the Bharat Ratna Pandit Bhimsen Joshi (Tembha) Hospital here, run by Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC).
“I rushed there in 10 minutes and witnessed the spirited party celebrations with around 8-9 persons present. When I demanded what was going on, one person identified as Sushant, claimed it was his birthday,” Nautiyal said.
As Nautiyal started filming and taking photos, some of the boisterous revelers got enraged, tried to pin him down and assaulted him, but he somehow managed to escape from their clutches and fled the spot.
When Nautiyal reached his vehicle parked outside, one of the accused snatched his car keys and continued to chase him at that ungodly hour.
“I left my car there and ran home safely a few minutes later and then called up the police. They promised to probe and also asked me to come and lodge a complaint,” said the journalist.
By the time the police reached the morgue premises, it was deserted like a graveyard with all the ‘party animals’ making good their escape at the dead of the night.
Nautiyal claimed that the Tembha Hospital was on his radar for several months after he received information of some alleged unsavoury activities purportedly going on there, including clicking selfies with nude bodies or tampering with them.
Among the revelers at the party were some civic staffers, ambulance drivers or helpers, but it was not clear whether they were authorised to enter the morgue premises, usually out-of-bounds for all people.
Patil said that at least six accused persons have been booked under sections of the Indian Penal Code and the stringent Maharashtra Mediapersons & Media Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage or Loss to Property) Act.
He said that all the accused are “still around” and none have absconded from the police dragnet but several arrests could follow after the initial investigations are completed.
Not willing to let the matter rest in peace, Nautiyal plans to meet the MBMC administrator and other top civic officials seeking a full-fledged probe into the series of sinister activities that are allegedly ongoing in the morgue and nab the culprits.
(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org)