Calcutta, July 2: A 32-year-old homemaker from Ranchi committed suicide in Calcutta by hanging herself from the ceiling of her bedroom late on Saturday night.
Preeti Verma left a suicide note naming husband Sanjay Verma, 35, and mother-in-law Savitri Verma.
But neighbours in the Chiriamore area, near Kaikhali, off VIP Road in Calcutta, said Sanjay’s alleged homosexual relationship with a cousin had driven Preeti to despair — and death.
The name of Manoj Verma, or Munna, cropped up in every conversation on Monday as police probed the “unnatural death case”.
Some neighbours, on condition of anonymity, revealed how Preeti was suffering because of her husband’s relationship with Manoj.
Sanjay and Manoj are also business partners as gold merchants.
“Sanjay and Preeti were married for five years but he remained very close to his cousin Munna. That relationship must have driven her to suicide,” said a relative of Preeti.
“Even when the two went on their honeymoon, Munna was with them. We want police to look into this relationship as the cause of Preeti’s death. She did not make it public and suffered in silence, as she did not want to malign her husband,” she added.
Sanjay was not at home when Preeti committed suicide early on Sunday.
Preeti’s brother Amit Kumar, from Ranchi, lodged a complaint, holding five members of the Verma family — husband Sanjay, mother-in-law Savitri, brother-in-law Manoj and his wife Mani, and another brother-in-law Ajay— responsible for her death.
The complaint did not hint at any homosexual relations between the two cousins.
“On the basis of the complaint lodged by Preeti’s brother, we arrested Sanjay Verma and his cousin Manoj. They have been remanded in judicial custody for seven days,” said the superintendent of police (North 24-Parganas), Praveen Kumar.
The three others named in the FIR were absconding till late on Monday.
Har Verma, Preeti’s father-in-law, who has been described by their neighbours as “a nice person, unlike the other family members”, dismissed talk about his son’s closeness with cousin Munna.
“I think the issue of the two having a relationship is baseless. My son is running his business well and some people are trying to malign him,” alleged the 72-year-old, at his G-504 apartment in the Green Valley estate near Kaikhali.
Har, a former employee of a private firm, added: “Manoj and Sanjay are business partners and this might have brought them closer. I don’t see anything wrong if two brothers live and work together to nurture their business.”
Other members of the Verma family tried to deflect the focus from Sanjay’s alleged relationship.
“Preeti was terribly upset after she suffered three miscarriages. She was undergoing treatment recently to ensure a safe pregnancy. She had gone into a deep depression because of the miscarriages, as most of her peers were mothers, while she was childless,” said a relative of Sanjay.