Delhi Police to conduct psychological autopsy of people who died at Burari home

A psychological autopsy attempts to study a deceased person's mental state by analysing medical records, interviewing friends and family and conducting research into their state of mind prior to death.

Delhi Police will conduct a psychological autopsy of the 11 people found dead under mysterious circumstances at their home on July 1 to solve the puzzle, a senior officer said today, even as a team visited Rajasthan to meet the relatives of the Chundawat family.

The psychological autopsy will be conducted after the police receive the final post-mortem report from doctors. It will likely be conducted at New Delhi’s Central Forensic Science Laboratory, which will form a panel of psychologists to analyse the psyche of the deceased.

A psychological autopsy attempts to study a deceased person’s mental state by analysing medical records, interviewing friends and family and conducting research into their state of mind prior to death.

A police team visited Rajasthan to record the statements of family members of Chundawat family and their daughter-in-law Tina’s relatives as part of its investigation in the case. Police found an acquaintance of the Chundawat family, who had stayed with them a few years ago. The person told them he was aware about Lalit having delusions about visitations from his dead father. The acquaintance confirmed that he had seen Lalit assuming his father’s alter-ego, the officer said.

Lalit was among the people found dead at the Burari home. His wife Tina’s relatives confirmed that she had told them about Lalit’s behaviour but they never suspected it would lead to such a tragedy, the officer said.

By going through the notes recovered from the spot that spoke about replicating ‘badh tapasya’, in which people get into a banyan tree-formation whose branches hang around, the expert will try and gain an insight into the psyche of the deceased, he said.

The notes say replicating ‘badh tapasya’ would make God happy. Meanwhile, police today again visited the house where the bodies were found and took some chairs with them. They tried to understand how the people would have hanged themselves. They also seized a religious book, the officer said.

Police are awaiting the final postmortem and forensic reports. They will send the viscera of the bodies for forensic examination to check if the family members were poisoned.

The registers recovered from the spot will be sent for handwriting analysis, even though police are sure that one of the writers was 33-year-old Priyanka, another member of the family found dead in the house on July 1. The initial autopsy report had said that all 11 members died of hanging and there were no signs of a struggle.

Ten of the 11 members of the deceased family were found hanging from an iron-mesh in the ceiling of the house, while the body of 77-year-old Narayan Devi, the head of the family, was lying on the floor in another room of the house. Her daughter Pratibha (57) and her two sons Bhavnesh (50) and Lalit (45) were among the deceased.

Bhavnesh’s wife Savita (48) and their three children – Maneka (23), Neetu (25), and Dhirendra (15) were also found dead. Others who were found hanging were Lalit’s wife Tina (42), their 15-year-old son Dushyant and Pratibha’s daughter Priyanka, who was engaged last month and was to marry by year-end.

On Wednesday, police had retrieved CCTV camera footage that showed some family members bringing stools and wires that were used for their hanging. They had also found 11 diaries which had “psychological musings” and things about attaining “road to God”.

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