Four members of a family, including two minor girls, were on Friday (October 18) found dead at their residence in Auroville, near Puducherry, in what looked like an apparent suicide.
The deceased were identified as Sundaramoorthy, 40, his wife Maheshwari, 35, and their daughters, Kiruthiga, 17, and Samiksha, 13. The two girls studied at the Auroville school.
Sundaramoorthy worked at a bakery in Auroville and also did other jobs including running a travels office, reports said. Maheshwari worked at Auroville’s kitchen, where she was in charge of cooking and supervising the distribution of food to children, said police.
The deaths came to the light when a staff from the Auroville Foundation’s solar kitchen management visited their house after Maheshwari did not turn up for work for a week.
Sundaramoorthy was found hanging from the ceiling of his house while the bodies of Maheshwari and the two girls were found lying on a cot in a decomposed state. The mother and the two daughters had reportedly consumed food laced with poison.
“Since the bodies were found in a decomposed state, it is difficult for us to tell what kind of poison they consumed. But, it is being investigated. There are possibilities that the wife and his children would have consumed poison before Sundaramoorthy’s death or vice versa,” said K Shankar, special branch officer, Auroville police station.
Reports further alleged that Sundaramoorthy was not in good terms with his siblings and other family members.
Meanwhile, enquiries revealed that the couple were neck deep in debt and that they ran separate Deepavali chit funds since last year. “Sundaramoorthy and his wife ran separate chit funds for Deepavali and had incurred huge debts,” said the officer.
Reports also claimed that Sundaramoorthy ended up spending most of the money he earned from the chit funds, as a result of which, the couple incurred debts up to ₹30 lakh. He had also allegedly borrowed money from several others and was unable to repay them.
“We are going through his phone records to find out who all he owed money,” the officer said.