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Thallium murders: Businessman’s wife also succumbs to poisoning

Varun Arora was arrested last month for allegedly killing his mother-in-law and sister-in-law by poisoning them.

Two months after a South Delhi-based real estate businessman allegedly poisoned his wife and in-laws using thallium, the man’s 35-year-old wife, Divya Arora, died late Thursday night. The accused, Varun Arora, was arrested last month for allegedly killing his mother-in-law Anita Devi Sharma (62) and sister-in-law Priyanka Sharma (26) by poisoning them.

Arora allegedly cooked fish laced with thallium — police say he was inspired by Saddam Hussein — and served it to his family members in January. His sister-in-law Priyanka died during treatment but the incident came to light only after his mother-in-law, Anita Devi, died later. His wife Divya meanwhile went into a coma and his father-in-law, Devendra Mohan Sharma, approached police, suspecting Arora of murdering them.

“Two days before his arrest, Varun also consumed a low dose of thallium to allegedly mislead investigators. After his arrest, he was admitted in AIIMS for medical observation,” a senior police officer said.

Sharma alleged Varun had help from his family in the triple murder, and added: “Divya has also left this world now. Varun has killed three women of my family. He was arrested last month, but he is still sitting comfortably in the hospital… Before his arrest, he asked his mother not to give custody of his children to us… He was arrested only after I filed a complaint…”

The accused was first called for questioning on March 22 after police received the complaint, but he denied his role. “He claimed he didn’t eat the fish as he had jaw pain… His twin children had milk and didn’t eat the fish either. To throw police off his trail, he allegedly decided to consume some drops of thallium. When he was called for questioning a second time, he informed police he was in hospital for a medical test and shared a report which showed thallium in his blood,” a senior police officer said.

Arora had allegedly been planning the crime since last December and had procured the substance for Rs 22,000 from an online pharmacist, police said.

DCP (West) Urvija Goel had said they received information on March 22 that Anita had been declared dead at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. “Doctors in the medical report had said she died of thallium poisoning; it was detected in her blood and urine. We also came to know that Anita’s elder daughter Divya was in the ICU, undergoing treatment for thallium poisoning. We then found that Anita’s younger daughter Priyanka had died during treatment on February 15 and had displayed symptoms of thallium poisoning such as hair loss and burning feet. Anita’s husband, Devender Mohan Sharma, who made the complaint, was not admitted but had complained of sudden hair fall,” Goel said.

“Arora was questioned and he admitted to procuring thallium and administering it to his in-laws and wife. He wanted to take revenge for them humiliating him. A small glass bottle containing thallium was recovered from his house and his phone containing information on the procurement of thallium was also seized,” said the DCP.

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