In a heart-wrenching video from the Indian state of Bihar, an elderly couple could be seen begging for money after a local hospital's staff allegedly asked them to pay Rs 50,000 (£513) as a bribe if they want to get their son's body from the hospital's mortuary.

The incident came to light after a video of the couple went viral on social media. It was shot in Samastipur city of Bihar, where their son's body was kept in the Sadar Hospital mortuary.

Mahesh Thakur's son was intellectually challenged and had been missing since May 25. Thakur, who is a resident of Kasbe Aahar village, had gone to the district hospital to identify his son's body and collect his remains.

He has alleged that the hospital staff did not release his son's body and an employee asked for the bribe. It was impossible for the man to arrange such a huge amount as he works as a daily wage labourer.

"It was my son's body. I had already visited Tajpur police station and they had asked me to approach the hospital. But the post-mortem staff demanded Rs 50,000 to hand over the body," Thakur was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.

The man, along with his wife, came back to their village and started begging for money, but could only collect Rs 2,000 (£20.5). He later claimed: "I went back but the same staff refused to hand over the body saying Rs 2,000 is too little."

The local police immediately intervened after the video went viral on social media. They took possession of the body and handed it over to the Thakurs. A probe has also been ordered into the incident by the hospital authorities. However, the hospital's civil surgeon, SK Choudhary, has claimed that it is not possible that their staffer would have asked for such a huge amount.

"While demanding Rs 50,000 bribe seems unlikely, it is quite possible that a post-mortem room staffer might have asked for some money. There had been similar allegations against a previous staffer. We are probing the matter," he told the Indian daily.

Vinay Kumar Rai, a senior official of the district, has claimed that the couple's allegations are wrong. "Preliminary investigation conducted by me reveals that the couple's allegations are wrong; Action will be taken if any employee is found guilty," he told local reporters.

Kollam Temple
A mortuary of an Indian hospital. Manjunath Kiran/ AFP