Two women have been arrested in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district for using a heavy metal-based chemical to kill five members of their family over 20 days and trying to pass off the murders as food poisoning, a senior police official said on Wednesday.
The two women allegedly mixed the poison, which they sourced from Telangana, in food and water to get rid of the victims.
One of the accused was apparently enraged at being taunted by her husband and in-laws every now and then, while the other woman had disagreements with the victims over the sharing of their ancestral property, the official said.
The poison also left two other members and their family driver sick. The three are now stable after treatment, said a statement by Gadchiroli Superintendent of Police Neelotpal.
The deaths, which initially left the relatives and locals puzzled, happened between September 26 and October 15, with the victims having a tingling sensation in the limbs, severe lower back and head pain, blackened lips, and a heavy tongue.
According to the release, one Shankar Kumbhare and his wife Vijaya Kumbhare of Mahagaon village in Aheri tehsil took ill on September 20 and their condition deteriorated in no time. They were first taken to Chandrapur and then to a reputed hospital in Nagpur.
However, Shankar died on September 26, followed by his wife the next day, the official said.
As members of the Kumbhare were grieving the deaths, Shankar’s son Roshan and daughters Komal Dahagaokar, and Ananda, alias Varsha Urade, developed similar symptoms and were admitted to different hospitals.
Despite doctors resorting to various medications, the three died between October 8 and October 15, said the police release.
More trouble followed the family. Shankar’s other son Sagar, who lives in Delhi and had come to their village to perform his parents’ last rites, took ill after he went back. He required hospitalisation following which his condition stabilised, the police said.
The family’s driver, who first took Shankar and Vijaya to Chandrapur, became sick and needed hospital care. A relative, who visited Chandrapur and Nagpur to assist the family, showed symptoms like tingling sensation in the limbs, severe lower back and head pain and blackened lips and had to be admitted to a hospital.
While doctors suspected that the victims had been affected by some kind of poisoning, preliminary examinations could not establish it, the official said.
Amid the spate of deaths in the Kumbhare family, Roshan’s wife Sanghamitra, and Rosa Ramteke, the wife of a brother-in-law of Shankar, maintained that they were due to food poisoning, said the police.
After being alerted about the mysterious deaths and hospitalisation of three persons for unexplained reasons, the police formed five teams to probe the matter, said SP Neelotpal.
During investigations, the police learnt that Sanghamitra had married Roshan against her parent’s wishes. She was apparently often taunted by Roshan and her in-laws.
On the other hand, Rosa Ramteke had disagreements with the victims over the sharing of their ancestral property, the police found. They centred their probe around the two women and cracked the string of murders, said the official.
As per the release, Sanghamitra and Rosa conspired to eliminate whom they considered their enemies. Rosa travelled to Telangana to get some heavy metal-based poison and the two mixed it in the food and water of the victims whenever they found an opportunity.
The driver of the Kumbhare family happened to drink some water from a bottle that Shankar and Vijaya were carrying when they first went to Chandrapur. The water was laced with poison and the driver became sick due to it, said the police.
SP Neelotpal said the two women were taken into custody on Wednesday morning.
“Primarily, the main reason for the murders is mental torture by in-laws, including husband, and a dispute over ancestral property. Further investigation is being done by the Gadchiroli police and chances of involvement of more people are also being probed,” he said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by String Reveals staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)