The Mannanthala police on Sunday arrested four persons in connection with the suicide of five members of a family near Mannanthala on Saturday.

All the four accused were allegedly illegal moneylenders, thus rendering more credence to reports that the family was driven to suicide by pressure mounted on them by loan sharks.

The police said the arrested were Satheesh, alias Bomb Kannan, 35, and Arun Kumar, 35, both of Vattappara, and Srikumar, 42, and his wife Sajila Gandhi, 33, of Kudappanakkunnu. A car belonging to Satheesh was seized on Saturday. All the four, the police said, were named in the suicide note apparently written by Biju, the elder son of Manoharan Ashari.

‘Family threatened’

The police said Satheesh, arraigned as the first accused, had allegedly threatened Biju and the family, demanding immediate repayment of about Rs.45 lakh that Biju had borrowed from him some time ago. The others, Srikumar and his wife Sajila, and Arun Kumar, had also allegedly been pressurising the family to repay the loans they had given to Biju over the past two years. The police said raids conducted on the residences and offices of the accused had yielded documents, including promissory notes and cheques, given to them by Biju.

Biju, who was actively involved in the share market, had incurred huge losses, the police said.

City Police Commissioner H. Venkatesh said the four were arrested based on prima facie evidence of their abetting the suicide. However, the reasons for the suicide were still under investigation.

The preliminary information after autopsy conducted on the bodies on Sunday indicated the presence of pesticides, he said.