Covid: Business slump cloud on family deaths in Calcutta
A 58-year-old garment trader was found hanging at his home in Sodepur and his wife and son were lying dead on the floor on Friday morning.
A note found on a table in the house suggested the man was deep in debt and was struggling to pay off his dues.
Samir Kumar Guha purportedly wrote about his mounting debts in the note and asked Partha Ghosh, a friend, to sell some of his furniture and other items to repay a part of the loans, the police said.
The note also mentions the names of some of the debtors.
The bodies of Samir, his wife Jhuma and their 23-year-old son Babai were recovered from their ground-floor apartment in a double-storey house in Sodepur’s Basak Bagan, around 16km north of Calcutta.
Neighbours said the family had moved into the rented accommodation on the ground floor a few years back. Samir would step out in the morning and return late at night. An affable character with a lot of friends in the locality, Samir would actively participate in all neighbourhood functions with Jhuma and Babai.
Some of Samir’s acquaintances told the police that since the lockdown last year, he had been facing a slump in his garments business. Several orders got cancelled and he couldn’t clear his stocks to repay his loans.
Over the past several weeks, Samir had not been in touch with his friends and would step out of home rarely, investigators have learnt.
Some neighbours said they had not spotted any family member leave the house in the past few days. Even the lights would remain switched off.
On Friday morning, another tenant of the house where the Guhas stayed alerted a few neighbours that a stench was emanating from Samir’s apartment. “We reported the matter to the police. Officers broke open the door,” said a resident.
Officers from Khardah police station who removed the bodies said Samir had possibly poisoned Jhuma and Babai before hanging himself.
“It appears the debts had been mounting for months because of the pandemic. We will speak to some of his business partners,” said an officer.
“The cause of the deaths will be known after the post-mortem report reaches us. The bodies have been sent to the College of Medicine and Sagore Dutta Hospital.”