BENGALURU: Extreme debt, made worse by astronomical interest rates is what forced 48-year-old Suresh Babu to take his son’s life, force his wife to kill herself and plan on killing his daughter before he committed suicide, Babu told the police after his arrest on Sunday. Based on his statement, recorded after the incident on Sunday, the HAL police on Monday arrested five financiers, including three women, on charges of abetment to suicide.
On Sunday evening, Suresh Babu hanged his 12-year-old son and forced his wife to commit suicide in the same manner as part of what he claimed was a suicide pact entered into two days earlier. However, his 17-year-old daughter, who was filming the tragic incident, told a relative who called the neighbours, who in turn alerted the police, foiling Babu’s plan.
Babu was employed with a food delivery company and based on the statements given by him and his daughter, the police arrested Sudha Devaraj. The other financiers arrested are Daisy Shanmugam, Prabhavathi Venkatdas, Ram Bahaddur and Manju M. All are residents of Vibhutipura and according to the police, Sudha, the main accused, revealed the names of the others when she was taken into custody. In his statement, Babu narrated a tale of horror and harassment at the hands of these money-lenders, who he said had also assaulted his wife. The family owed nearly five lakh rupees to them of which `40,000 was borrowed from Sudha. He said that she had been harassing him to pay interest rates well above the average charged by private moneylenders in the city, which led to his debt mounting with no means to repay it. As a result of this, according to a police officer, the family decided to enter into a suicide pact. “His daughter initially recorded the incident as per plan, but later changed her mind when she saw her mother hanging herself to death. She was disturbed and began to scream. He told her it is only a matter of two minutes and that after her, he would follow,” an officer said.
Police sources said that Babu had even recorded the assault on his wife by the financiers. The accused lenders have been handed over to judicial custody while Babu himself has been booked on charges of murder, for killing his son. Further investigations are underway.
Journo in dock for leaking video
The video of the grisly incident, recorded by Babu’s daughter, went viral on Sunday and police tracked down and arrested a reporter with a local news channel, accusing him of leaking the video without the permission of the daughter. A case was filed under section 66E of the IT act, for violating the privacy of the family and also under other sections for forwarding footage of a crime scenario without permission. According to the police, this amounted to tampering with evidence. During questioning, the reporter told the police that the daughter had sent him the video. Further investigations are on.