x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Couples wanted over Dubai family murders

Police in India search for two couples in connection with the murders of a family of four who lived in Dubai.

Kadali Prasad, son Ketan, daughter Kavita and the children's grandmother.
Kadali Prasad, son Ketan, daughter Kavita and the children's grandmother.

DUBAI // Police in India were yesterday searching for two couples in connection with the murders of a family of four who lived in Dubai. Reports in the Indian media said teams of officers were searching for the suspects after the bodies of Kadali Prasad, his wife Vijayalakshmi, son Ketan, 14, and daughter Kavita, 11, were found at a budget lodge in Secunderabad, near Hyderabad, last Friday. They had been strangled.

Mr Prasad's brother-in-law, B Srinivas, said: "The police told us that two men and two women are the suspects. The men have been identified so far." Police said on Sunday that four people who had been staying with the family, in rooms nearby at the RAK Royal Lodge, were missing. Relatives who mourned the family yesterday said they believed that a "land mafia" was involved in the killings. The phrase usually applies to an organised criminal network operated by officials, politicians and business people.

"We are quite sure now that whatever happened was over a land dispute. They probably got involved with some land mafia, which cost them their lives," said Mr Srinivas. Mr Prasad owned about 60 acres. However, Mr Srinivas dismissed reports of a family dispute or the involvement of any family members. "No one from the family was involved in this," he said. "It looks like this was done by someone who knew Prasad and invited him to the lodge. There was some deal going on in the lodge.

"They were given poison, probably cyanide in their food, and after that they were all strangled using a chord of a telephone charger." The police did not confirm the use of poison in the killings. Mr Prasad was in his late 40s and his wife in her late 30s. The family was cremated on Sunday evening and several religious rituals were performed by relatives yesterday. The family had been on holiday in India since the end of July and were expected to return to Dubai on August 14. However, they extended their stay after Mr Prasad's nephew committed suicide.

They moved into the lodge last Thursday. Hotel staff called police on Friday after they noticed a bad smell coming from the family's room, which was locked from the outside. The body of Mr Prasad was found in a corridor. His wife and children were found on a bed. Relatives intend to visit Dubai to collect the family's belongings, but Mr Srinivas said: "Unfortunately, we do not know anyone in Dubai who can help us. We are trying to get in touch with the Indian Consulate in Dubai."

Mr Prasad had lived in Dubai for 25 years. He was an engineer for Dubai Petroleum. His relatives described him as a good man, though aloof. "He was a quiet man and no one knew what dealings he had," said Mr Srinivas. "We all know that he has been working in Dubai for 25 years with a good record." pmenon@thenational.ae