The Vasai family’s refusal to claim a woman’s body has caused widespread confusion and concern. The woman died five days prior, and her family has refused to claim her body from JJ Hospital’s mortuary, citing police apathy. The family claims that the police are safeguarding a few individuals who are allegedly involved in the illegal construction that caused her death. They have placed a notice on their house saying that they will approach Vasai court to end the matter, and they want the FIR to be registered on the complaint of the woman’s husband and her post-mortem report. The police have registered the FIR on the statement of an autorickshaw driver who was at the spot, according to the family.

Renu Ramesh Gupta, the deceased, was a vada pav and vegetable vendor in Vasai West. On March 20, she was seriously injured when part of an under-construction building fell on her. She was found trapped under debris and was taken to a nearby civic-run hospital, but no police officers met with her family. Instead, a person named Rakesh Gharat, whom they suspect is connected to the builder, met with them and asked them not to approach the police. A day after the incident, the injured woman was referred to Bombay Hospital, where she passed away on March 22.

The police did not approach the family, nor did they record the woman’s statement. Her family claims that she was talking to everyone and that she wanted to live, but surprisingly, the cops did not visit to record her statement. The police registered the FIR on the statement of an autorickshaw driver who was near the spot at the time of the incident. The family is questioning why the FIR was not registered based on the statement of the woman’s husband instead. They further allege that Gharat paid ₹50,000 at Bombay Hospital for medical treatment but did not pay the outstanding bill of ₹22,000.

After Renu’s death, the outstanding bill at Bombay Hospital rose to Rs. 31,000, including mortuary charges. The family could only arrange Rs. 10,000 and paid it to the hospital. Still, while they were arranging the remaining amount, the police from Manikpur police station took Renu’s body to JJ Hospital to get an autopsy done without informing the family. The Manikpur police are now pressuring the family to claim the body, threatening to approach Vasai court if they do not. However, the family is unwilling to do so because they claim the police are not doing anything to help them and are instead safeguarding the culprits. The municipal corporation and the police did nothing to stop the illegal construction that caused Renu’s death, they allege.

The police maintain that they were in touch with the family after the incident, but the woman was not in a condition to give her statement, so they could not record it. They claim that they had been calling her husband to register an FIR, but he did not listen to them. Therefore, they registered an FIR in this matter on the autorickshaw driver’s statement. However, the family alleges that the police are doing nothing to help them and have booked a contractor who has nothing to do with the incident. No arrest has been made in this case. The VVCMC demolished the illegal construction on Friday, finally acting on a year-old complaint.