A relative is suspected to have killed a couple and their three children in northeast Delhi’s Bhajanpura following a dispute over Rs 30,000 that he owed the family, the police said on Thursday, a day after the decomposed bodies of the five victims were found at their rented two-room residence.
Prabhu Choudhary, 28, bludgeoned the five people to death with, possibly, an iron rod over a period of eight hours on February 3, according to the police. Prabhu was arrested on Thursday and confessed to his crime, officials said.
“After an argument with Shambhu’s wife, Sunita, around 3.30pm that day (February 3), he first strangled her and then bludgeoned her using an iron rod,” said Alok Kumar, joint commissioner of police (eastern range).
Next, the suspect killed the couple’s 12-year-old daughter, Komal, around 5:00pm, after she returned from her tuition classes, Kumar added. Prabhu kept the bodies in two separate rooms and waited for others to return.
Shivam, the couple’s 17-year-old son, was his next victim. Shivam’s brother, Sachin, 14, returned home around 7pm and was killed in the same way, the police said. Prabhu then left the house, only to return with Shambhu, who was killed around 11:30 pm.
“While a dispute over money seems to be the primary motive for the murders, we are also probing other possibilities,” said Kumar.
Another investigator, who didn’t want to be identified, said that officials are probing whether Prabhu and Sunita had an affair.
The murders came to light on Wednesday, after the police control room received a call complaining of stench coming from the Bhajanpura house. The family, originally from Bihar, migrated to Delhi around two decades ago.
“We checked CCTV footage from the neighbourhood and found that all the children entered the house one by one…Around 7.30pm, Prabhu left the house alone and returned around 11.30 with Shambhu. He was seen locking the house from outside and leaving after some time,” Kumar said.
Ved Prakash Surya, deputy commissioner of police (north-east), said that Prabhu claimed the couple repeatedly asked him to return the Rs 30,000 he owed. “He said he also helped the couple invest Rs 5 lakh in a chit-fund scheme, but they suspected him of siphoning off that money,” he said.
“On February 3 afternoon, Prabhu called Shambhu to meet him in Laxmi Nagar to have a discussion. While Shambhu left for Laxmi Nagar, Prabhu visited the victims’ house around 3.30 pm. There, Prabhu and Sunita had an argument over the Rs 30,000…he strangled her and then bludgeoned her using an iron rod,” Surya said.
The police said that the murder weapon was yet to be recovered.