A US court has given the go-ahead for exhumation of the body of an Indian-origin businessman in Chicago, who died of cyanide poisoning under mysterious circumstances days after he won a USD million lottery.
Judge Susan Coleman of the Probate Division of the Cook County Circuit Court in Illinois approved the Cook County medical examiner's request to exhume the body of Urooj Khan, 46, who died last July a day after he collected a cheque of $425,000 as his prize money.
It was not immediately known how quickly the body would be exhumed, but Coleman's order called for it "as soon as possible" since Khan's body was not embalmed before burial.
The process of exhumation and autopsy is expected to take place as soon as next week.
Initially no foul play was suspected in Khan's death and the medical examiner's office had initially ruled that Khan had died of natural causes. However at the request of Khan's relative, the cause of his death was re-examined and new screening results from fluid samples showed that a lethal amount of cyanide was present in Khan's system.
In allowing Khan's body to be exhumed from a cemetery in Chicago, Coleman said there is "reasonable and sufficient" reason for the Cook County medical examiner to get more forensic samples from Khan's body. The Chicago Tribune reported that no one had objected to exhuming Khan's body.
According to court papers, Chief Medical Examiner Stephen Cina said it was important to exhume Khan's body "as expeditiously as possible" since Khan's body was not embalmed.
The medical examiner's office said in court papers it was necessary to do a full autopsy to "further confirm the results of the blood analysis as well as to rule out any other natural causes that might have contributed to or caused Khan's death."
Khan owned a dry-cleaning business in Chicago and had won a million dollars in an Illinois lottery scratch ticket in June last year.