By Ben Farmer / telegraph.co.uk

An Indian property businessman has been accused of taking inspiration from Saddam Hussein to poison his wife and in-laws with a rare chemical element.

Delhi police arrested Varun Arora for suspected murder after his mother-in-law died and tests found she had high levels of thallium in her body.

The chemical has become notorious for its use by poisoners and was favoured by the Iraqi dictator’s secret police when disposing of dissidents and enemies.

Detectives said a laptop belonging to Arora had been used for web searches on the effects of the element and Saddam’s history of using it.

The element can be difficult to spot, but causes a slow death accompanied by lethargy, numbness, black-outs, slurred speech, general debility and hair loss.

A number of dissident Iraqi scientists were killed in the 1980s and at least two opponents of Saddam in the 1990s only survived after they fled to London for treatment.

Arora’s father-in-law tipped off police, saying his wife had died and he suspected his son in law of murder. Arora, aged 39, had cooked a family fish supper laced with thallium, alleged Devendra Mohan Sharma.

Arora’s wife has been in a coma since February and his sister-in-law died around the same time, Indian Express reported.

Subsequent tests have shown high levels of thallium in the bodies of his wife, and mother-and-father-in-law.

“We also found out that Arora had ordered thallium through an online pharmacist after claiming that he and his father-in-law were making a homeopathy medicine for coronavirus. We tracked the person who delivered the package and he identified Arora,” an officer alleged.

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