With clothes still hanging in the balcony, the Chakravarty’s three-bedroom flat in South Delhi could have been any other family’s home, except for the forensic team that was busy at work on Saturday evening.
The second-floor flat in Sadiq Nagar was the scene of an apparent murder-suicide, but neighbours and friends of the family said they couldn’t believe what had happened. Ananya Chakravarty was found hanging in the drawing room, while his wife Jaishri and children Arnab and Disha were found murdered in other parts of the house.
According to an immediate neighbour, Ananya and Jaishri were having marital trouble. “There was some commotion in the house around three days ago and the police were called in, but at that time it did not appear to be serious,” the neighbour said.
Jaishri was a teacher in a nearby public school, and the children studied at the local Kendriya Vidalaya. “The whole family was very active during Durga Puja celebrations. Jaishri even taught children how to dance,” said a member of the local Durga Puja Association.
A cousin of Jaishri’s who lives in Chittaranjan Park, A.N. Chatterjee, said: “There were fights, like in any other family, but we never thought it would escalate to this extent.”
Mr. Chatterjee received a call from a relative in West Bengal on Saturday morning saying that the couple’s phones were unreachable. He went to check on the family at 3-30 p.m. and found the doors locked. He then called the police, who broke into the house and discovered the four bodies. “The husband’s body was hanging from the ceiling fan in the drawing room. There was a hammer lying near him. The son was found in a pool of blood in his room,” another neighbour said.
With a quivering voice, Mr. Chatterjee added: “I don’t know how my aunt and uncle will deal with this.”
According to neighbours who were at the spot when the police first discovered the bodies, the electricity connection to the flat had been cut off and all the phones in the house were switched off.
As a crowd gathered in the park below the house, neighbours were in a state of shock that such a “normal family” could have had such a gruesome end. “My son used to sit next to Arnab in class. He was a fun-loving boy. My son can’t believe that this has happened,” said a man who lives in the locality.