Took the extreme step when another family member was held in a case of fraud

Thikriwal (Punjab): Three members of a family died and two others were battling for their lives in hospital, after they consumed poison when another member was arrested by the police in a case of fraud.

Aman Kaur (26), the sister-in-law of arrested Sarwan Singh, Gurpreet (3) and Avtar (2) died after consuming Sulphas while wife Rachpal Kaur (26) and eldest son Kirandeep (6) were fighting for their lives, police said here on Thursday.

Sarwan was arrested for allegedly taking money from people on the pretext on sending them abroad, police said.

Kashmir Singh, the father of Sarwan, told reporters that the five consumed Sulphas after the arrest.

Kashmir, a mason in the PWD department, said the incident happened while he was on his way with his brother to the police station. He had been on official duty at a Republic Day function in Kapurthala.

"On way to the police station, we received information that the five had consumed poison and were lying unconscious. We immediately went to the village and rushed them to hospital," he said.

Avtar died on the way while Gurpreet and Aman Kaur, the younger sister of Rachpal who lived with the family, died in hospital. Rachpal and Kirandeep were later shifted to a private hospital in Dayalpur.

Kashmir said that Sarwan, who looks after a `dargarh' (shrine) near his house, had paid four lakhs after selling his one and half acre land to a travel agent Satnam Singh and his wife Paramjit Kaur, residents of village Dakoha in Gurdaspur, for going to New Zealand.

More than twenty people who used to visit the dargah had also reportedly paid rupees twenty lakh through Sarwan to agents Satnam and Dilbagh Singh for going abroad. After the agents failed to send them abroad, they started pressurising Sarwan and his family to return the money.

Sarwan had sold his two buffaloes, one generator set and half an acre of the remaining land to pay the money. "Facing humiliation, his first wife Balwinder Kaur and his grandmother Surjit Kaur died about three months ago," Kashmir said.

Bholath DSP Amrik Singh Powar told reporters that a case was registered against Sarwan, Satnam and Paramjit for "duping people on the pretext of sending them abroad''.

Police claimed that they recovered a packet of Sulphas from Sarwan on Thursday.

A case has also been registered against Satnam Singh and Dilbagh Singh for incitement to commit suicide. -- PTI