3-member family from Puthuppally found dead in car, debt trap suspected

Photo: Special arrangement.

Cumbum/Kottayam: A three-member family from Puthuppally, near Kottayam, was found dead in a car in Cumbum within Uthamapalayam police station limits in Tamil Nadu on Thursday morning. The deceased were identified as George P Scaria, 60, his wife Mercy, 58, and son Akhil S George, 29, residents of Kanjirathummoodu.
Theni SP R Shiva Prasad said it was a case of suicide and a poisonous substance was found inside the car. He said they were in touch with Kerala police to ascertain the cause of suicide. Preliminary information suggests the family was in financial trouble.

The car was found by the side of the Kumily-Cumbum stretch in a farmland. The bodies of George and Akhil were found in the front seat and passenger seat while Mercy's body was found in the rear with her face leaning against the window.

The incident has left the relatives of the family and residents at Kanjirathumoodu shocked. They had felt something amiss when the police came on Wednesday night and asked for details about this family. The relatives believe the family ran into financial trouble and fell into debt traps one after another.

"We have been told they incurred a debt of around Rs 2 crore after they offered their property as collateral for a person for a business upgrade. When the repayment failed, the liability fell on them. They were forced to finalise a sale agreement to sell off 4.5 acres of land and their house at Kanjirathumoodu. The person who acted as the negotiator made them shift to a housing colony near a church at Paarapaya in Thottakadu. When the deal got delayed, pressure must have mounted on them,'' said Babu, a relative of Mercy.

The residents in the area recollected that the family kept to themselves and seldom spoke to neighbours. Even the relatives, who stayed nearby, were not in the know when they shifted to Thottakadu. ''For some reason, they were told not to mingle with neighbours. May be they were upset over the financial troubles,'' said Babu. It was three months ago that the family moved to a house at Thottakadu reportedly owned by the person who pitched the sale deal for their property at Kanjirathumoodu.

On Thursday, Puthuppally ward member Nibu John received a call from the police and he got in touch with the relatives. Their younger son Nikhil had drowned around three years ago. Relatives said that George was into business and led a good life and there was no sign of financial woes. 

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