Eleven members of a family, including seven women, were found dead under mysterious circumstances at their residence in Burari area of North Delhi on Sunday morning.
While 10 of the dead were found hanging, with their eyes covered with pieces of cloth cut from the same bedsheet and their mouths taped, the body of a 77-year-old woman was found lying on the floor in another room of the house.
A police statement said some handwritten notes were found in the house “which point towards observance of some definite spiritual/ mystical practices by the whole family”. Additional DCP (North) Vinit Kumar said “these notes have strong similarity with the manner in which the mouths, eyes etc of the deceased were tied and taped”.
He said they received a PCR call around 7.30 am. “We reached the spot and found bodies of 11 people inside the two-storey building. Ten people were found hanging from an iron-mesh in the ceiling on the first floor, while the body of an old woman was found in the adjacent room. The deceased were later identified as Narayan Devi (77), sons Bhavnesh Bhatia (50) and Lalit Bhatia (45), daughters-in-law Savita Bhatia (48) and Teena Bhatia (42), daughter Pratibha (57), grandchildren Priyanka Bhatia (33), Nitu Bhatia (25), Monu Bhatia (23), Dhruv Bhatia (15) and Shivam Bhatia (15),” he said.
Police said they had recovered two registers with notes on how to attain moksha (salvation).
“We have found two registers, with detailed written notes on how hands and legs are to be tied. The state in which 10 of the bodies were found reflected what was written in the notes. These are exhaustive notes, and we are studying them,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Alok Kumar.
“During investigation, we found that the house was neither ransacked, nor were any valuables missing. The women had their gold jewellery intact, the cellphones were also not missing,” said Addl DCP Kumar.
The family had a plywood business and also ran a grocery store in the area. Residents told the police that the family had been living there for the past two decades.
Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik told The Indian Express that an FIR has been registered under Section 302 (murder) of the IPC at Burari police station, and the investigation has been transferred to the Crime Branch. “Our senior officers of Crime Branch unit also visited the crime scene, and we are probing the case from all angles,” he said, adding that the FSL team’s report and the autopsy report is awaited.
Later in the evening, a board of doctors was set up to conduct the post-mortem examination. Till 11 pm, they had completed the autopsies on six bodies.
Meanwhile, both Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari visited the spot on Sunday.