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Three of family commit suicide in Anakaputhur

Special Correspondent

Harassment by “speed money” lenders is said to be the reason

TAMBARAM: Three members of a family committed suicide at their house in Balaji Nagar, Anakaputhur, a southern suburb of Chennai on Sunday.

Harassment by “speed money” lenders who had reportedly forced them to pledge their house as collateral for a loan of just Rs.1 lakh was reported to be the reason for the suicide.

Ravichandra Raja (62), who had retired from Accountant General's office in Teynampet, Chennai, as Senior Audit Officer, was living with his wife Sathya Vani, (52), their son Ramesh Shankar (28) and his wife Bhuvaneswari (22), on Balaji Nagar Main Road, Anakaputhur.

Around 11 p.m. on Sunday, Ramesh Shankar, who went out earlier in the day, returned home and noticed the front door open. The television was on and he noticed the bodies of his parents and wife hanging from the ceiling and informed police and his in-laws. The bodies were taken to Tambaram Taluk Government Hospital in Chromepet for post-mortem on Monday morning.

Police said they had recovered a note, reportedly written by Ravichandra Raja, regretting his son's decision to take a loan from a group of three “speed money” lenders based in Anna Nagar in the city a few months ago.

However, some weeks later, they had informed Ramesh that the interest alone on the loan had gone up to Rs.8 lakh. Further, Ramesh was asked to pledge as collateral, their house, which was registered in the name of his mother Sathya Vani.

Relatives of Bhuvaneswari alleged that Sathya Vani had signed on a few sheets of blank paper, allegedly on the insistence of the money lenders. The relatives told reporters that Bhuvaneswari had called them last week and informed them of problems in the household due to the loan.

According to Saravanan, a cousin of Bhuvaneswari, a group barged into the house in Anakaputhur on Saturday evening and assaulted them and this was conveyed to him by the victim over phone.

Late on Sunday night, they were shocked when Ramesh Shankar informed them, over phone, that his parents and wife had committed suicide. Her relatives told reporters that Bhuvaneswari was a resident of Annai Sivagami Nagar and was working as a lab technician in Tiruvottiyur, when she met and fell in love with Ramesh Shankar. The couple got married on February 17 last year and organised a small function to celebrate their first wedding anniversary last week. Staff of AG's office said Ravichandra Raja was the grandson of M. C. Rajah, former legislator and Dalit leader and were sad over the plight of the successor of a great leader.

Shankar Nagar police said three separate teams were formed in this connection.

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