Distraught over his family's poor financial standing, a visually impaired man poisoned his wife and three minor children, before hanging himself, at Machhiwara, nearly 40km from here, on late Tuesday night.
Jora Singh, 35, along with his wife, Mandeep Kaur, 32, and children Khushranjan Kaur, 6, Komalpreet Kaur, 4, and Ranvir Singh, 2, resided in Fateh Colony of Machhiwara.
Jora, who was a driver by profession, had lost eyesight in an accident six months ago. With Jora rendered jobless, his wife started working as a house help. But the family was unable to make ends meet.
The tragedy came to fore when Jaswinder Kaur, who also resided in the same building, felt a lull in the rooms occupied by Jora's family.
When she peeped through a crack in the door, she was shocked to see Jora hanging from the ceiling fan, and his family members lying on the floor. She informed the building owner, who sounded the police.
Deputy superintendent of police Jaswinder Singh and Machhiwara station house officer (SHO) Jarnail Singh reached the spot.
Ludhiana range deputy inspector general of police (DIG) Nilabh Kishore also visited the spot and asked the local police to start inquest proceedings under section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).
According to police, froth was coming out of the Jora's wife's and children's mouth of the four family members when the door was broken, indicating that they were poisoned.
Initial investigation revealed that Jora apparently committed suicide after he could not maintain his family after he lost his eyesight six months ago.
Maninder Singh, a local, said, "Jora's family was in severe distress since Jora lost his eyesight after an accident. Maintaining three children was becoming hard for Jora and his wife with every passing day."
Jora belonged to Jattpura village in Hoshiarpur and had come to Machhiwara three years back. Since then he had lived on rent in different areas of the town.
Police have seized a sample of food that the family had on Tuesday night, and sent it for forensic examination.
The bodies have been sent to Samrala civil hospital for autopsy, whose report is awaited.