Three members of a family were strangled to death and set on fire in their home in Agra’s Nagla Kishan Lal village sometime late Sunday night, the police said.
The police recovered charred bodies of Ramveer (57), Meera (55), and Bablu (23) on Monday.
The accused are absconding, and the police suspect an alleged financial dispute could be the motive behind the triple-murder.
The victims’ hands had been tied up and their mouths had been taped, the police said. The gas cylinder in the kitchen had been left open, they said. The bodies had sustained burns on hands and legs and were kept next to each other.
Agra’s Senior Superintendent of Police Bablu Kumar said: “We received information from local residents early (Monday) morning about the bodies in a house. We found the bodies in a charred state and it appears the crime had taken place sometime during the night.”
Kumar said the police are working on two angles at present. “The family had borrowed money from another person and was unable to return it. The other aspect is a burglary gone wrong which, at this point, seems less likely. We are working on the first angle and the case will be cracked soon,” he said.
According to police, a retired soldier had given the family Rs 12 lakh against a promise for a job, and they had apparently been unable to repay it.
Ramveer ran a grocery shop in Nagla area for the last more than a decade, and local residents have told the police that they had never seen him get into any argument. Ramveer and his family were last seen by neighbors returning home past 10 pm on Sunday.
According to local residents, Ramveer regularly opened his shop at 5 am, but when it remained closed on Monday morning some neighbours peeped inside the family’s ground-floor house and saw smoke in one of the rooms. The police were informed, who broke open the door and found the three bodies.
“The victims were strangled to death before they were set on fire,” SSP Kumar said. “Police teams have been formed to make arrests.”
Calling it the handiwork of criminals, Meera’s brother Gabbar Singh said, “I do not know how the fire was started, or what happened at night…. I was not aware if they had any rivalry or enmity.”