A middle-aged couple and their two young children were found dead in the familys home in Bhakti Park,Wadala,in central Mumbai on Monday morning. All the bodies had black polythene bags pulled over their faces. From the extent of decomposition,it appeared that they had been dead for at least a day and a half,police said.
Two cans of a liquid chemical thought to be either chloroform or ether were found nearby. The bodies of the woman,Elizabeth Anthony,45,and the couples children,Jason,12,and Vivian,4,had vests soaked in the chemical wrapped around their faces. The body of the man,49-year-old Donatus Anthony,only had the polythene bag over its head. All four were foaming at the mouth,according to the Wadala TT police.
Prima facie,police suspect that Anthony killed his wife and children before taking his own life. A preliminary probe had found that a civil law suit was on over the flat in which the family was living,and that Anthony had several debts,police said. They said they were probing if financial difficulties had led the family to enter into a suicide pact.
DCP,Zone 4,Dattatray Karale,said,Anthony took possession of the flat (in Odyssey building in 2006) after paying a token Rs 20 lakh to the previous owner,Kashmira Zaveri. However,he failed to pay the remaining Rs 16 lakh,which led to a dispute. In 2008,Zaveri gave him back Rs 20 lakh and asked him to vacate the flat,which he refused to do. In the meantime,she sold the flat to another buyer,Shivaji Narale. Zaveri and Narale then filed a complaint against Anthony in the city civil court.
Narale is learnt to have told police that Anthony had repeatedly defaulted on the payment of Rs 20,000 per month to a receiver appointed by the court in 2009. He paid Rs 4 lakh in 2010,but allegedly fell behind again,and owed Rs 1.1 lakh as of March 2013. According to Karale,Anthony had failed to appear at a hearing of the suit scheduled for March 15.
Police have recorded the statements of a couple of moneylenders from whom Anthony had allegedly borrowed in the past,and asked his bank for details of his account.
Anthonys brother Anil,however,suspects murder. There was no reason for my brother to kill himself. I think he has been murdered and we demand an inquiry, he said. Anil and his son Gracious,22,found the bodies on Monday morning.
On Anils suspicions of murder,ACP Rajdoot Rupawate (Sion division) said,If it is murder,we will take action accordingly.