In a video shot moments before the suicide pact, the man says he was a victim of three-digit lottery, which is banned in TN.
M Arun shot a video moments before he consumed poison on late on Thursday, alleging he was prompted to take the extreme step due to lottery, absence of financial help and urged steps to eradicate “three-number” raffle.
Police said he was debt-ridden and had difficulties in paying back his creditors.
‘Three-number’ lottery is a kind of raffle. Though all kinds of lotteries are banned in Tamil Nadu for over the last 15 years, allegations of its illegal prevalence have been made by political parties and police have also said they had been taking action.
The goldsmith, who ran a jewellery-making workshop in his home, blamed himself for his plight in the video clip, shared widely on social media, adding people had no sense of fairness and justice.
“Please eradicate lottery in Villupuram, the three-number lottery. At least 10 persons who are in similar circumstances will be able to survive,” he said in the clip.
He also wanted the “association”, perceived to be a reference to a local goldsmith collective, to extend help to debt-ridden people like him.
“We cannot live here and we are going without giving trouble to anyone,” he said.
The clip also showed Arun’s wife, 26-year-old M Sivagami
leaning on him in a drowsy state, apparently due to the ill-effects of the poison.
Arun also showed his three toxin-fed girl children, including a toddler, lying unconscious on the floor.
The eldest child was five-year-old, the next one was three and the third a toddler, according to the police.
On the charge that illegal lotteries are being run, Villupuram District Police Superintendent S Jeyakumar said continuous action was being taken against it.
“As many as 280 cases have been filed this year in the district and in town area 143 cases were registered and the accused persons were arrested and remanded,” he said.
Arun had also been hooked to “online lottery” and the deceased used his mobile phone to access it, he said.
“Today, we arrested 14 persons, including agents for illegal lottery,” Jeyakumar said.
According to the official, Arun ran a goldsmith workshop in his residence here and could not get adequate income. Owing to debt, he had sold his house and used part of the proceeds to run a money-lending business known locally as ‘thandal.’
“Arun seems to have faced losses in his new business endeavour also due to his obsession with online lottery.
He owed money to his creditors. He could not handle the pressure,” the official said.
The bodies were handed over to the family members after an autopsy at a government hospital, he said.
A police release said the Goondas Act would be invoked against those indulging in illegal lottery trade and added that if any police personnel aided the grey business, strict action would be taken against them.
PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss said the incident was shocking and demanded action against the illegal lottery trade.
After illegal lottery was banned in 2003, many of those engaged in the trade continued to do so illegally since they did not have other livelihood options.
Ramadoss urged that they be provided with alternative employment opportunities.