Maharashtra police on Saturday added sections of an anti black magic and superstition law against two persons, including a mantrik, accused of killing nine members of the family of two brothers in Sangli district, an official said on Saturday.
The bodies were found in two homes belonging to siblings Manik Vanmore and Popat Vanmore on June 20 in Mhaishal in Miraj, over 380 kms from Mumbai.
The police has invoked sections of the Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act 2013 against accused mantrik Abbas Mohammad Ali Bagwan and his associate Dheeraj Surawase, both residents of Solapur, he said.
As suicide notes were found at the two sites, police had initially suspected it was a mass suicide pact due to harassment by money-lenders before detailed investigations led to the arrest of Bagwan and Surawase, the official said.
"Our probe revealed Bagwan killed the family of nine with the help Surawase as he didn't want to return the money he had taken from them on pretext of locating a hidden treasure for them," he said.
"Bagwan and Surawase had gone to Manik Vanmore's residence on June 19 evening along with nine bottles. They gave 1,100 wheat seeds to Vanmare's wife to count, by which time they mixed poison in each bottle. At 1 am on June 20, they went to Popat's home and poisoned them one by one by calling them to have ingredients of the bottle as part of a ritual," he said.
After killing members of Popat family, the accused went to Manik's residence and poisoned remaining members of the family, after which Bagwan and Surawase inserted suicide notes in the pockets of all nine victims, the official said.
Inspector General of Police (Kolhapur Range) Manoj Kumar Lohiya had earlier said Bagwan had taken a huge amount of money from the Vanmore brothers under the pretext of helping them explore "gupt dhan" (hidden treasure) and the family was frequently asking him to return the money as the promise regarding the treasure was not fulfilled.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)