The family had moved to Taloja in September last year. (Photo: Narendra Waskar)
Highly decomposed bodies of a 35-year-old businessman and three other members of his family, including two minors, were recovered from an apartment at Taloja in Navi Mumbai Saturday, reportedly around one-and-a-half months after they were last seen by neighbours, police said.
Police suspect the businessman, Niteshkumar Upadhyay, had strangled his wife Babli and their two children, aged eight and seven, before committing suicide in January at their rented fifth-floor apartment at Shiv Corner housing society in Taloja’s Sector 9. Two notes recovered from the house have ruled out foul play, police added.
The bodies were found by their landlord, Rajesh Bharadwaj, around 11 am Saturday when he opened the door of the apartment with a duplicate key allegedly as the family had failed to pay to rent for the past two months and stopped answering his phone calls, police said.
Following a preliminary probe, Taloja police said Niteshkumar had first strangled his wife and children with a cloth, before hanging himself from a ceiling fan over a month ago. Two notes and some money were also recovered from the apartment, they said.
In the first note, Niteshkumar reportedly said that they did not have any other relatives and requested their bodies to be cremated as per Hindu rites. In the second one, police said, the businessman said he was leaving behind some gold jewellery and Rs 15,000 in cash, along with instructions to hand over the money to Bharadwaj. The second note also mentioned that the family had decided to end their lives and did not hold anyone responsible for their actions.
The police said Niteshkumar, who hailed from Delhi and ran an online trading firm, had moved to Taloja in September 2019. While he would regularly pay Bharadwaj rent within the first week of every month, he had failed to do so since January. “The landlord decided to meet Niteshkumar in person as the latter had completely ceased contact,” a senior police officer said.
As per preliminary enquiry, residents of the building and Niteshkumar’s relatives in Delhi have claimed to have last seen the family members over a month ago. “It is strange that no one in the building noticed the absence of the family and neighbours also failed to notice the smell of decomposing bodies.
A rotting smell becomes obvious within two days,” the official said.
Police have sent the bodies for postmortem and registered a case of murder in the matter. “Since the suicide notes did not mention any motive, we will investigate how well Niteshkumar’s business was doing and whether he had accumulated any debts,” the official added.