A homemaker and her twin daughters, aged 14 months, were found dead under mysterious circumstances in an overhead tank of their house at Srinivasa Nagar in the early hours of Saturday.
The deceased had been identified as Asha (33) and her daughters Ahana and Aradhya. Asha’s husband Hareesh (38) claimed that she had jumped into the 1,000-litre tank. Asha’s family, however, denied claims of suicide and alleged murder and dowry harassment .
Police sources said circumstances of the death did not indicate suicide. They suspected foul play. H S Revanna, DCP (South), told Deccan Herald that cases of murder and dowry death were registered against Hareesh, based on a complaint lodged by Asha’s elder brother. Hareesh was then arrested.
Asha was from Sagar in Shimoga district. She worked as a receptionist at a City hotel. In 2011, she had an arranged marriage with Hareesh, a small-time mineral water supplier. Her elder sister Lakshmi said the family had to pay Rs 2.5 lakh as dowry, besides 170 gram of gold ornaments.
The couple lived on the top floor of Hareesh’s four-storey house. Life became miserable for Asha after she delivered the twins. Her mother-in-law Nellooramma and Hareesh were upset over the birth of girls. Lakshmi said the family started harassing and humiliating Asha. They even called the twins “bad luck”. She alleged that Hareesh was a habitual gambler and lost Rs 7 lakh in IPL betting. He blamed the “bad luck” brought by his daughters for his loss. Besides, the couple did not get along well.
Around 10:48 pm on Friday, Hareesh called up Lakshmi’s husband Praveen and complained that Asha was not eating. Praveen said when he asked Hareesh to give the phone to Asha, he said she was not ready to speak. His calls to Asha’s mobile phone also went unanswered. Hareesh then called him around 12:15 am to say that Asha had jumped into the overhead tank with their daughters. By the time Praveen reached Asha’s house, the bodies were fished out of the tank and placed on a bed.
Lakshmi said there were injury marks on Asha’s face and neck and blood stains behind her right ear. The family alleged that Hareesh killed Asha and the girls in a mandatory inquest statement made before the tehsildar.
A senior police officer said autopsy of the bodies would throw more light on the cause of the death. He said the police were keen on ascertaining whether water had accumulated in their lungs. Autopsy was conducted at Victoria Hospital and the report is awaited.
A senior official involved in the investigation said committing suicide by jumping into an overhead tank was very rare.
He said the tank was 4.5 feet high. Asha was taller by at least a foot and it was doubtful whether she drowned in the tank, which was not even full to the brim.