Three of a family died in a suspected suicide pact here on Wednesday morning. The deceased were identified as Sultana Begum (40), Sofia Begum (17) and Md. Shafi (10), residents of Type II quarters, DLB Colony, Saligrampuram. The police registered a case under section 174 of Cr.Pc, but the angle of foul play was not ruled out.

According to the Fourth Town police, Sultana Begum, the mother, doused herself and her two children with some inflammable liquid and set themselves afire. Noticing the flames, the neighbours broke open the door and poured water on them to douse the fire and even called the fire tenders. But by the time the fire tenders arrived, the three had been charred beyond recognition.

Fourth Town Inspector (Law and Order) D.S.R.V.S.N. Murthy said husband of the woman, Md. Mohideen, an employee of Visakhapatnam Port Trust Workers Pool, had left home around 8 a.m. and the incident occurred around 10 a.m.

As per the initial inquest, Sultana, the eldest of four sisters and two brothers, was living in poor economic conditions when compared to the others. It was reported that she had approached her mother for Rs. 12 lakh to get her daughter Sofia admitted in a private engineering college, a couple of days ago. Denial of money by her mother and penury could have driven her to the extreme step, said the inspector.

Though the initial inquiry points towards suicide, there are a few missing links. Firstly, despite huge fire, there were no screams and the neighbours rushed only after they noticed the flames. Police said the front door was locked from outside and the back door was locked from inside. According to the police, there was dispute within Sultana’s maternal family concerning property and finance.

Clues team were also pressed into service and the police are awaiting the post mortem report for further investigation.

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