A day after two persons died due to suspected cyanide poisoning after consuming liquor at a licensed Tasmac bar in Thanjavur, police sources claimed it could have been a case of murder, targeting 36-year-old cab driver Vivek, one of the victims.
While the source of the cyanide that was said to have been mixed with the liquor and the motive are under investigation, the sources said Vivek was the first to consume the “poison-laced” liquor.
It is suspected that the other victim, Kuppusamy, 68, a daily wager in a fish market, drank the leftover liquor from the bottle used by Vivek.
A third person, to whom Vivek reportedly offered the liquor, did not consume it, and is now a key witness.
A forensic analysis of a sample of the leftover liquor confirmed the presence of cyanide, the sources said.
The police said a preliminary inquiry revealed that Vivek was in a relationship with a woman. They are probing if she or anyone related to her had conspired to murder him. One strong possibility was that the cyanide may have been sourced from a goldsmith, as it is used in the process of making jewellery, according to the police.
A senior police officer said the authorities were investigating if a goldsmith or anyone associated with the jewellery manufacturing industry had visited the bar on Sunday morning. Since there was no CCTV camera in the bar, investigators were relying on eyewitnesses and sources.
“That a goldsmith or someone associated with him could be involved is just one among many suspicions. We are not ruling out the possibility of a suicide,” a police officer said.
Sources said there was no information that could connect the two victims. If it were to be a suicide, Vivek would not have offered a portion of the poisoned liquor to his friend, who survived, they said.
A list of visitors to the bar on Sunday morning was being compiled, and special police teams would look for clues to determine if any of them was involved in the incident. The police were also perusing technical evidence, including surveillance camera footage in the locality, to achieve a breakthrough in the case, the sources added.
(Assistance for overcoming suicidal thoughts is available on the State’s health helpline 104, Tele-MANAS 14416. and Sneha’s suicide prevention helpline 044-24640050)