In a terrible mix-up, authorities in the Punjab have mistakenly shipped the body of a mystery man believing it was that of British-Indian businessman Ranjith-Singh Power who was murdered during a trip to India last May.
The mystery body was reportedly handed over to Social Services in Birmingham earlier this week.
Officials thought the corpse, one of five pulled from a river in Punjab, was the missing hotelier but dental records and DNA testing proved the body was not his.
“It remains unascertained. I can’t be clear how he died. He was one of five males pulled from a river in Punjab. I have to give it an open conclusion. Sadly, that’s as far as I can take this. No-one is coming forward,” said Zafar Siddique, a coroner in the West Midlands.
“In future, if family do come forward, we have the DNA. This will have to be referred to social services.”
The body cannot be repatriated back to India and a funeral will be conducted by social services, although the DNA would be retained in case of further inquiries.
A post-mortem examination estimated the dead man’s age as 50 plus, but was not able to ascertain the cause of death.
Mr Power, from Birmingham, was last seen at Amritsar airport on May 8, 2015, before his UK-based family launched a search for him.
A local taxi driver has since been charged with his murder and is awaiting trial after police said he has confessed to the killing and divers found a body in a canal in the city’s Ropar District.
“Dental records confirm it is not Mr Power and DNA confirms that the body is not related to the family,” Detective Constable Zahid Ahmed, from West Midlands Police, told the inquest this week.
Power’s UK-based family, including his partner Angela Bir, have stressed that her family is “focussed upon justice” and are working with police in Punjab to help in any way they can.
They have since launched The Ranjit Singh Power Foundation Trust to support orphans and children with cancer in his memory.
They had feared he may have been kidnapped after he uncharacteristically failed to stay in contact with them and did not catch his return flight from Amritsar on May 14.