The suicides of 11 members of a family in Delhi has taken a twist with mysterious godmen emerging.
New Delhi: The death of 11 members of a family who were found hanging in their home in Burari in Delhi has taken yet another twist with the police investigating the role of godmen or occultists in the incident.
Investigators have reportedly come across phone numbers of occultists or godmen from the materials seized from the premises.
Mysteriously, the phones were taped, in silent mode, and stored in a cupboard in the house. It is a practice that mobile phones should not be used during rituals if the believers need “salvation”.
The notes recovered from the premises also promised practitioners that “God” would, at the last minute, prevent them from dying, even if they hanged themselves.
“One of the godmen we are focusing on leads a group of devotees of a deity. Based on findings from the call records, we are also looking at the role of followers of another deity whose temple is located in Rajasthan,” said an investigating officer.
The 11 members of the Bhatia family who were found dead included 77-year-old Narayan Devi, her two sons Bhavnesh Bhatia (50) and Lalit Bhatia (45), their wives Savita (48) and Tina (42) respectively, a daughter Pratibha (57), and five grandchildren, Priyanka (33), Neetu (25), Monu (23), 15-year-olds Dhruv and Shivam. Nine of the victims were hanging from a metal frame that covered the courtyard.
The police have not ruled out the possibility of a twelfth person’s presence in the house during the deaths. While the CCTV footage from 6pm on Saturday until Sunday morning did not show any suspicious person visiting the house, the police are checking videos beginning last week.
“The only person seen in the footage was a delivery boy who visited the house at 10.40 pm to deliver 20 chappatis. The delivery boy told us that the family had not ordered any curry, dal or vegetables,” said the first police officer.
Sujata Nagpal, one of the two surviving members of the Bhatia family, refused to buy the police version of a suicide pact or any rituals. “I believe it was a planned mass murder,” she said.
From the notes recovered, it appears that Lalit Bhatia was the main motivator, but refers to all the ritualistic activities of the family to ‘upar se aadesh’ (orders from a higher power).
Lalit was unable to speak for three years following an accident but then made a miraculous recovery, friends and relatives said. The police are investigating whether he was merely pretending to be mute. The relatives and friends said he lost his voice when a plywood plank fell on him ten years ago.