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Assuming Father's Alter-ego, Here's How Burari Businessman Led Family to 'Suicide'

Representative Image. Illustration by Mir Suhail/News18.com

Representative Image. Illustration by Mir Suhail/News18.com

Lalit strictly followed his ‘father’s words’, who was an Army officer, and trained his family in discipline, code of conduct, rehearsals of dos and don'ts during ritual practices.

New Delhi: In a sequence of events straight out of a horror movie, a 45-year-old Delhi businessman loses speaking ability in an accident, but miraculously “recovers” after family’s continuous prayers and spiritual activities. Over the years, the man’s deceased father begins “visiting him, enters his body” and leads the family to the path of ‘moksh’ – mass suicide.

This might seem unbelievable, but that’s what a family in Delhi’s Burari area thought to be true. Soon, the entire family was found dead in their house.

When 11 members of Bhatia family were found dead last Sunday, police initially thought it was a case of murder. However, as the Crime Branch team delved into the matter, they were appalled to find how the apparent man of the house could convince the entire family, consisting of educated people and Delhi university students, to give away their lives willingly.

Lalit, whom one could consider the protagonist of the story, led the entire ritual. Penning it down in a 50-page diary, the 45-year-old businessman wrote that he dreamt about his father, who died years ago, and was taking instructions from him about property, business and family responsibilities.

He wrote that all the ritualistic activities they resorted to were ‘upar se aadesh’ (orders from the higher powers).

According to a report in a leading national daily, Lalit also wrote about his illness in third person. “Lalit ke swasthya ki chinta mat karna...mere aane se prabhaav padta hai (don’t worry about Lalit’s health. His problems are because of my visit).”

Lalit strictly followed his ‘father’s words’, who was an Army officer. He would often assume his father's alter-ego, speak in his father’s voice and ‘train’ his family in discipline, code of conduct, rehearsals of dos and don'ts during ritual practices.

An officer told news agency IANS that one of the entry in the diary states that the businessman often instructed family members to stand to position like soldiers after morning prayers for increasing mental strength.

Ahmed Ali, a carpenter and domestic help who worked full time with the family, said that they were extremely religious, but he never noticed anything unusually odd in their behaviour to suggest they were planning something like this.

“The mornings would begin with each member touching the feet of their elders. The family would definitely have one meal together. They prayed thrice every day and would not hesitate from praying at churches, mosques and gurdwaras,” a national daily quoted Ali as saying.

Lalit used to recall the previous day's chores and listed activities in his registers on a daily basis and made lists of things he had instructed other family members to follow. He would also research on death and mysteries of soul. According to his mobile phone details, he often watched paranormal and ghost shows on 'YouTube' and other Internet platforms.

The businessman was planning to get is family ‘salvation’ and ‘help them become immortal’ for days. And finally when all the 10 members agreed to followed ‘upar se aadesh’ as directed by Lalit, the eldest daughter-in-law Savita was tasked to bring a stack of stools.

Subsequently, the two minor boys went downstairs to their plywood store and came out with ropes, which was used for hanging.

According to the episode caught on CCTV, a food delivery boy enters Bhatias’ house at 10:30 pm and delivers 20 butter chapattis, and the rest is history.

The family was found hanging from the iron grill on the morning of June 30 in an apparent replication of the hanging roots of a banyan tree or ‘vat tapasya’ (worshipping of a banyan tree).

“The notes repeatedly mentioned about performing ‘vat tapasya’ (worshipping the banyan tree). It made special mention of worshipping the hanging roots of the banyan tree. As per the notes, the ritual performers were to hang in a formation that would replicate the hanging roots of a banyan tree,” an investigator told the national daily.

Neighbours, relatives and everyone who knew them were shocked by their death and completely refuted the fact that they committed suicide and that, too, influenced by superstition.

In another CCTV footage, the family was seen enjoying at the engagement ceremony of Priyanka, another member of the family, who was also seen hanging.

They had two flourishing businesses of plywood and grocery and had a good reputation in their society, but alas, all fell prey to superstition.