A young man shot his wife before turning the gun on himself the morning after his father issued an ultimatum to leave home if he failed to become financially independent.
Sonarpur resident Santanu Chowdhury, 22, ended up in an ICU with a bullet lodged in his brain while wife Anubha, a couple of years older than her husband of 10 months, died on the way to hospital.
“I had scolded him on Tuesday night for living off us even after getting married. I told him to leave home just to make him realise that he was wasting his life. How was I to know that he would do what he did?” cried father Ranadhir Chowdhury, a former ONGC officer who retired last month.
The incident occurred on the terrace of the two-storeyed residence of the Chowdhurys at Pearabagan, under Sonarpur police station on the southern fringes, around 6.30am on Wednesday.
Police said the family’s domestic help, Maya, had spotted the couple chatting on the terrace minutes earlier.
“She had just returned to the second floor to go about her chores when she heard what then seemed to be the sound of tyres bursting,” police said, quoting the help.
Ranadhir’s wife Manjula, who was in bed, also heard the sound but did not react.
It was only after the help went back to the terrace to hang clothes out to dry that she saw Anubha lying there bleeding and Santanu sitting on the floor with his back against the wall, blood oozing out of the right side of his head. There was a gun in his hand.
Maya’s screams brought Ranadhir and his wife running to the terrace. They alerted the neighbours and an ambulance was brought to take the couple to a nursing home.
Bhaskar Ghosal, consultant surgeon and superintendent of the nursing home in Garia, said Anubha was brought dead while Santanu was in a critical condition.
“A bullet is lodged in the brain cavity behind his right eyeball. He can undergo surgery only after his cardiac condition becomes stable,” the doctor added.
The superintendent of police of South 24-Parganas, L.N. Meena, said investigators were yet to ascertain how Santanu had got hold of the countrymade revolver with which he shot his wife and then attempted suicide.
Ranadhir said his son, a Higher Secondary dropout, had fallen into bad company and would drink regularly. “He claimed to be working in a call centre and would go out at odd hours. But I doubt he is employed,” he added, seated outside the ICU of the Garia nursing home.
Mother Manjula, a hospital matron, said she knew her son had “bad habits” but couldn’t have imagined that he was capable of doing what he did.
Nobody from Anubha’s family, based in Purulia, was present. The police said the family had been informed about the incident.
Asoke Ganguly, a neighbour of the Chowdhurys, said he knew Santanu as “an introvert” on whom his parents doted.
“He married the girl of his choice, and his parents didn’t object because he is their only child. They were only worried that he wasn’t employed.”
Santanu had fallen in love with Anubha when she came to Pearabagan some years ago to stay with relatives and study. It is not known whether she and her husband had entered into a suicide pact.