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The family at the centre of Saturday’s murders owned an oil mill in east Delhi since 1937, lived off rent from the massive compound it owns, and was preparing for Diwali. It also owns huge tracts of land and shops in east and central Delhi.
The four women, who were murdered, lived with the extended family at Shahdara. Originally zamindars in east Delhi, the family sold off parts of land over the years. The sprawling mansion, where they were murdered, was periodically built and rebuilt by different generations of the Jindal family.
At the heart of the mansion, spread across 24,000 square feet, is a lawn where successive generations of the family played and rested, relatives said. Urmila Jindal (78) was the second-eldest member of the family. Her husband, now deceased, had five brothers, of whom two are alive.
The family used to own the Jindal Oil Mill at MS Park, a mustard oil refinery, run by the family patriarch and Urmila’s father-in-law Ram Chander Jindal. After his death, the property was distributed to the six brothers, their sons and their families — most of whom continue to live at the mansion. The mill shut down in the 1970s and the family has since lived off the income by renting out various properties.
Still known in the area as ‘Mill waali Jindal family’, they were in the midst of annual preparations for a massive Diwali celebration. Shakun Jindal, a relative, said, “Although we are a huge family, we have always loved to live together. We were making Diwali preparations when tragedy struck.”
She added that Urmila, in spite of her age, was vivacious and would often tell stories about the past. She is now survived by her only living daughter, Abha, who resides in south Delhi.
Satish Chand Jindal, Urmila’s nephew, said, “We have never faced any threat or felt insecure. This is the family’s third generation staying in this house, and we never thought of installing CCTV cameras.”