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Police officers in Bihar. Photo for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: PTI

Patna: A man who was officially declared dead by police in India’s Bihar state has returned home safe three months later.

While the surprise return of the “deceased” has brought happiness to his grieving poor family, since the man was the sole bread earner, the incident has raised a big question mark over the efficiency of police investigations.

The man had been allegedly lynched, on suspicion of being child kidnapper, in Bihar’s Patna district in August this year.

The police later recovered a body and sent it for autopsy at a local hospital, but the victim’s face was so disfigured much no one could identify it.

Later, police said they had identified the body as that of missing Krishna Manjhi, 32, on the basis of tattoos on his hands and handed it over to his family, who later cremated the body.

Police also arrested 23 suspects in the connection with the “lynching” of the man and sent them to jail.

Subsequently, the police closed the case.

Things took a curious turn on Friday evening when the man presumed to have been killed by a lynch mob suddenly reached his home. Witnesses said initially the family members got terrified as they mistook him as his ghost but later got convinced when he told them how he had left for southern Indian city of Chennai in search of livelihood.

“We have intimated the matter to the senior officials and are reopening the case to reinvestigate it afresh,” a local senior police official Samrat Deepak told the media on Saturday. Another senior police official and Patna’s Senior Superintendent of police Garima Malik said she had sought a detailed report from the local police official over the issue.

The family of Krishna Manjhi, however, has another story to tell. “The moment I was called to identify the body at the hospital mortuary, the body had completely decomposed and was beyond recognition. But I identified it as my husband’s under police pressures,” Majhi’s wife, Ruby Devi, told the media on Saturday.