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Ranchi deaths: Family was grappling with money problem, high medical bills

As police wait for the autopsy report, neighbours say a huge financial crisis and a spiraling cost of treatment of the youngest member of the family for cerebral oedema may have forced them to take their lives.

Updated: Jul 31, 2018 10:13:48

By HT Correspondent

People gather outside the house where seven members of a family allegedly committed suicide, in Ranchi on Monday, July 30, 2018. (PTI)

The police are probing a murder and suicide theory after seven members of a family were found dead Monday morning in the outskirts of Ranchi.

Deputy inspector general of police (Ranchi Range) Amol V Homkar said two suicide notes, one of 15 pages and the second of two pages, were found from the spot. He refused to share the details of the notes.

“Prima facie, investigations reveal that it seems the brothers had hanged themselves after killing the other five family members. Other angles are also being investigated,” he added.

As police wait for the autopsy report, neighbours say a huge financial crisis and a spiraling cost of treatment of the youngest member of the family for cerebral oedema may have forced them to take their lives.



The dead were identified as Shashi Kumar Jha, 65, a retired railway employee, his wife Gayatri Devi, 60, along with their sons Deepak Jha, 40, and Rupesh Jha, 39, Deepak’s wife Soni Jha, 38, and their children one-year-old son Jagu and six-year-old daughter Drishti. Rupesh was unmarried.

The Jhas who hailed from Munger in Bihar, used to stay in Patratu, 40 km from Ranchi where Shashi Kumar Jha was posted. They moved to the rented accommodation in Ranchi in January after his retirement.

Shocked neighbours say they had no idea that the family would commit mass suicide despite the financial crisis.

The family’s landlady Savitri Devi who lives in an adjacent flat said she had gone to visit a relative Monday morning but had not heard anything unusual the previous night.

“I left on Monday morning around 8am. I did not hear anything unusual the previous night. Everything was normal about the family,” she said.

Savitri Devi said that the one year-old Jagu was suffering from cerebral oedema since his birth. “The family had spent huge money on his treatment. They were also worried about his medical condition,” she said.

There are two other tenants in the same premises. One of them was out of town. The landlord had rented four rooms of the single-storey structure to the deceased family, while he and his wife lived in an adjacent flat.

A neighbour who refused to be named, said the family had taken a loan of around Rs 20 lakh from different lenders. “Jagu’s medical condition had added to their financial woes,” he said.

Another tenant, Usha Pandey, who stays in the adjoining flat, said she saw the family around 8pm on Sunday. “There was nothing which could suggest an incident of this magnitude. Though they were worried about Jagu’s medical condition, there was nothing in their behaviour which suggested that the brothers would take such a step. They even celebrated Jagu’s birthday on a grand scale on July 4,”she said.

Another neighbour, Chandan Pandey said the family had taken up the rented house on January 11 this year. “I saw the family till 7pm Sunday. The family members went outside, came back, and had a normal dinner. They were talking as usual. Though they never told me, I heard from some people that the family had taken a loan of several lakhs to meet the medical expenditure of Jagu.”

This is the second such incident to rock Jharkhand this month after six members of a business family were found dead at their residence in Hazaribag a fortnight ago. Police suspect it to be a case of mass suicide due to financial crisis.

First Published: Jul 31, 2018 09:59:00

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