Six persons of a family, including four children, were found dead at an apartment of a high rise society in Ahmedabad in the wee hours of Friday.
The incident occurred at Flat B-708 at Shree Prayosha Residency society near Sardar Patel Ring road in Vinzol of Vatva GIDC area of the city, where six persons — Gaurang Patel (40), his son Dhruv (12) and daughter Shanvi (7), elder brother Amrish Patel (42), his son Mayur (12) and daughter Kirti (9) — were found dead.
The one-BHK flat at the seventh floor of the building belonged to Gaurang and was found to be locked from inside by police.
According to police, the bodies were discovered around 2 am on Friday, when a police team had broken a part of the flat’s wooden door to enter it. A missing persons complaint had been filed by the wives of the two brothers, which stated that all six persons had gone missing on the afternoon of June 17. While the bodies of the two men were found in the hall, the two boys were found in the bedroom and the two girls were found in the kitchen. The bodies were found in a decomposed state, suggesting that the deaths may have occurred on the same day the complaint was registered.
“The bodies have been sent for post-mortem and we are awaiting results for further leads in the case. Prima facie, it appears that the two men allegedly killed their children and then killed themselves. We have also found four glasses with fruit juice and some solid contents, which suggests that their children might have been intoxicated before being killed. The motive behind the act is not clear yet and investigation is on,” said Bipin Ahire, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone 6, Ahmedabad Police.
According to police and family members of the deceased, Gaurang worked as a contractual supervisor of a garment company in Vatva and had been unemployed for about six months. On the other hand, Amrish worked as an Ola cab driver and had been unemployed since the lockdown was imposed.
Gaurang stayed with his wife and two kids at a rented apartment in Vatva area despite owning a flat in Vatva GIDC. Other family members claimed that they had moved out from the latter house in December, 2019. Amrish stayed with his family at a rented house in Patel Niwas of Hathijan village of rural Ahmedabad. All four kids were enrolled in Sacred Flower school in Ghodasar area of the city.
Hetal Patel (32), wife of Gaurang, told The Indian Express, “My husband took our kids, Shanvi and Dhruv, out for dinner on Wednesday since the kids have been at home for months and the lockdown is now over. I thought that he must have taken them to their uncle’s place in Hathijan
village for the night. However, when his phone was found switched off on Thursday, I contacted Amrish’s wife, Jyotsana, who told me that her kids had also gone out with her husband on Wednesday. It was then that we filed a police complaint.”
Pallavi Patel, sister of Gaurang and Amrish, claimed that the family had been trying to search for the six since June 18.
“When their phones were found switched off, we visited the flat in Vatva GIDC around 10 pm on Thursday and it was found to be locked from inside. When we tried ringing the doorbell and nobody answered, we contacted the police and they arrived around 12 am,” Pallavi said.
At Shree Prayosha Residency, old neighbours of Gaurang said that he hardly interacted with other families.
“Gaurang and his family had moved in three years ago when the society was newly built. We interacted with them occasionally and were on cordial terms as our children were friends. However, last year in December, the family had moved out without informing us,” said a neighbour of Gaurang.
“No one was living in Gaurang’s house for the past six months as we could see an iron lock hanging outside…We never noticed that somebody entered the flat on Wednesday night. It was only around 12 am on Friday when the police came that we realised,” said another neighbour.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Police Inspector and in-charge officer of Vatva GIDC police station, DR Gohil said, “We found packets of wafers, biscuits and some juice sachets from the flat. We also found ropes that were newly purchased, which suggest that the act may have been premediated.”
‘Debt is not reason enough’
Two notices from ICICI bank dated February 18, 2020 were also found affixed outside Gaurang’s flat, which stated that he owed Rs 7,87,451 to the bank for a home loan.
“We value your relationship with ICICI bank and therefore would urge you to take serious note of this notice (sic),” one of them stated. Police confirmed that Gaurang had stopped paying EMI installments to ICICI bank in December.
Gaurang’s family members said that they were aware of the home loan, due to which his immediate family had moved out of the flat in Vatva GIDC. However, they said that financial distress of one brother couldn’t be reason enough for the deaths of six members.
“My two brothers were unemployed for the past six months but they had not taken loan from anyone — except for the home loan of Gaurang — nor were they hassled about it,” Pallavi said.
Police sources said that they are probing foul play in the case.
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