Kochi: The online loan sharks, who reportedly pushed the Kadamakudy couple to end their lives by suicide, continue to hound them even after their demise.
Family members and the couple's acquaintances said that they continue to receive the deceased woman's morphed nude pictures on WhatsApp two days after the tragic death.
Sources said the man's relatives and local ASHA workers have been receiving the photos from various phone numbers.
Police have registered a case and started a detailed investigation, they said.
Nijo (39), a resident of Madassery, Valiya Kadamakudy, his wife Shilpa (29), and their children Abel (7) and Aaron (5) were found dead in their house on Tuesday. The primary assessment was that the couple took the extreme step unable to repay the debt they incurred in connection with Shilpa's failed attempt to land a job abroad.
However, when their friends and relatives started receiving the morphed pictures and messages on Wednesday, the police suspected that the couple might have fallen victim to online loan sharks.
Nijo’s brother said the family was unaware of the loan his sibling took from an online app. They realised the trap only after they started receiving messages and morphed nude pictures.
“The messages appeared first. Later, they began to send morphed pictures as well. Only we realise the extent of terror unleashed by the loan sharks. The gang again sent morphed pictures to some of the relatives this morning too,” Nijo's brother said, requesting anonymity.
Meanwhile, K N Unnikrishnan MLA submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, seeking a detailed investigation into the matter. The MLA demanded the formation of a special task force to probe into the role of the online loan mafia.
The vigil committee, formed as part of the mass movement post the incident, said they would not withdraw the complaint.
“Issues like online loan fraud are included under the scope of the probe. However, preliminary reports suggest the couple had availed only a small amount as a loan. We will investigate whether there are any other reasons behind the suicide deaths,” he said.
Police have collected the mobile phones of both Nijo and Shilpa for examination. They are also collecting the details of the 25 people to whom the gang had sent the morphed photos. The police also made it clear that the suicide note, allegedly written by the couple on the fateful day, too, has no mention of the loan fraud.
The cops have received evidence of Rs 9,300 being paid from Shilpa’s account as a loan instalment.
However, the exact amount of the online loan availed by the couple is yet to be ascertained.
The online gang accessed the contact list in her mobile phone and sent morphed pictures and threatening messages to friends and relatives to humiliate her after the couple reportedly defaulted on repayment.
All of them received the voice of a woman speaking in Hindi.
The messages threaten that the couple have defaulted on repayment and that unless they remit the money at the earliest, pictures and messages, including the morphed ones, would be sent to all the numbers on her contact list.