A migrant’s attempt to earn his livelihood ended in unspeakable tragedy when he poisoned his wife and two young daughters before dying the same way here.

The dead are Nagesh (35), Giriyamma (27), Pavitra (9) and Divya (8).

Police said Nagesh, from Mandya district, used to run a roadside eatery in K.R. Puram, but the neighbouring shopkeepers and vendors were constantly trying to drive him out claiming their business was affected because of the eatery.

This war of attrition continued, leading to frequent fights between Nagesh and the others. The latter even once filed a case against him and got him arrested, police said. But he came out on bail and continued supplying lunch, tea and coffee to clients.

Matters turned for the worse when the neighbouring shopkeepers reportedly vowed to ensure he was ejected besides performing ‘black magic’ to ruin his family, police said.

Fed up with all this, on Thursday night Nagesh laced the family’s dinner with poison, ensuring they ate it before eating it himself. The tragedy came to light Friday morning when neighbours noticed there was no movement in the house and called the police.

The police said preliminary enquires revealed that Nagesh had a huge loan he was unable to repay and this also was a contributory factor.

Nagesh’s parents told the police he would always complain about harassment from shopkeepers and other vendors.

“We are looking into both the angles to take necessary action,” a police official said.