Thallium has got no colour, odour or taste. It acts slowly and causes wide-ranging symptoms, which come in the way of a diagnosis of poisoning. After Varun Arora, 37, administered the poison, his mother-in-law, Anita Devi Sharma, 62, and her younger daughter, Priyanka, 27, died in hospital in the course of two months while his wife, Divya, 35, is in a coma.
Found in online search history: How to make someone very sick
He spared his two children, four-year-old twins, a boy and a girl. His father-in-law and their maid are under treatment.
Arora has been arrested for the murders and the police claim to have seized the chemical which was stored in a small glass bottle from his house. “We have also seized his mobile phone which he had used to procure the chemical. He has been booked for murder and attempt to murder,” said deputy commissioner of police (west) Urvija Goel. The police found that Arora had searched the internet on “how to make someone very sick” and got the idea of using thallium.
Arora’s plot started unravelling on March 22 after Inderpuri police station got a call from Sir Ganga Ram Hospital that a woman, Anita, who had been under treatment at the hospital for over a month, had died. The police were told that Anita was admitted to the hospital on March 4 and traces of thallium had been detected in her blood and urine samples.
Deputy commissioner of police Goel said the police began to trace the source of the poison. It was found that the woman’s elder daughter, Divya, was also admitted at the same hospital on March 6 and she too had consumed thallium.
According to Dr Rajeev Ranjan, senior consultant, department of neurology at the hospital, Divya came with unexplained neurological symptoms and is currently in the ICU on ventilator support. “The patient’s mother and her sister, who had no known illness, were also rushed to hospital with similar symptoms and died. This led to suspicion of poisoning and our tests revealed high levels of thallium. We wrote to the police and also sent a letter to National Commission for Women for providing security to the family,” said Dr Ranjan.
As the probe progressed, pieces of the puzzle began to fall in place. “Divya’s younger sister, Priyanka, had also died while undergoing treatment at B L Kapoor Hospital on February 15. Thallium poisoning was mentioned in her medical reports. This raised our suspicion. We found that their father, Devender Mohan Sharma, was also undergoing treatment for symptoms of thallium poisoning while their maid was being treated at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital for similar symptoms,” said DCP Goel.
The chain of events suggested that the entire family had been administered thallium by someone, possibly an insider. A detailed autopsy was then carried out on both Anita and Priyanka at RML Hospital by a board of doctors. A team of forensic experts also visited Sharma’s house and detected traces of thallium.
It was found that Divya lived with her husband, Varun Arora, in GK-I. Their probe revealed that the two families did not have very good relations. When Arora was questioned, he is claimed to have admitted that he had given the family fish laced with thallium when he visited them on January 31. “He said he made sure his wife and her parents and sister ate the fish. Because Priyanka was not at home at the time of dinner, he waited for her to return and made sure she ate the dish,” said the officer.
DCP Goel said when asked about his reasons for targeting the entire family, Arora said he wanted to take revenge because his in-laws had supported his wife’s decision to abort their child last year. “He said his father had died last year, and after his wife conceived, he believed that the child was his father’s reincarnation. But Divya developed complications, and with the support of her family she aborted the child against Arora’s wishes,” the DCP added.