Police have arrested five persons, including a woman, in connection with the death of a district judge and his son, who had allegedly consumed poison-laced chapatis, a senior official said on Wednesday.
A tantrik (occultist), who is also wanted in the case, is absconding, the police said.
The judge and his son had consumed chapatis (Indian bread) made of poison-mixed wheat flour allegedly given to the family by the woman, Sandhya Singh - who is director of an NGO - after a 'puja, which led to their death, police said.
Betuls Additional District and Sessions Judge Mahendra Tripathi (56) had died on Sunday morning during treatment in Nagpur in adjoining Maharashtra, they said.
His elder son Abhiyanraj (33) died on Saturday night on way to Nagpur for treatment, Superintendent of Police (SP) Simala Prasad told reporters while informing about the arrest of the five accused.
The father-son duo was taken to hospital after they complained of food poisoning, Prasad said.
Prasad said the judge and his deceased son had dined with other family members at home on July 20. While the two ate chapatis, made of the wheat flour allegedly given by the woman, the judge's wife had eaten only rice.
Tripathis younger son also vomited after eating chapatis, but his condition is stable now, she said.
Later, the judge and his elder son were admitted to the local Padhar Hospital after they became seriously ill on July 23.
They were shifted to a hospital in Nagpur on Saturday as their condition deteriorated, she said.
Prasad said Tripathis younger son Ashish informed the police that his father, on way to Nagpur, had told him that his woman acquaintance, Sandhya Singh, gave the poison-laced wheat flour after performing a puja.
The same wheat flour was used in preparing the chapatis which were consumed by the judge and his two sons, the SP said.
Prasad said during investigation, it came to light that Sandhya Singh came in contact with the judge when he was posted in Chhindwara and later both became friends.
The woman was not able to meet Tripathi for four months after his family came to live with him in Betul, the police officer said.
Out of frustration, she conspired to kill the judges family, she said.
Prasad said the woman asked the judge to give her wheat flour for performing a puja for him so that he can get "rid of all his problems". Two days later, on July 20, she returned the wheat flour to the judge, the SP said.
The same wheat flour was used in making chapatis for dinner that night, she said.
Prasad said the police initially arrested Sandhya Singh and her driver Sanju, who revealed the entire conspiracy.
Later, the police arrested three more persons, Devilal Chandravanshi, Mubin Khan and one Kamal, on the basis of information shared by Sandhya Singh.
A tantrik, Baba Ramdayal, who is also wanted in the case, is absconding, she said.