A techie working out of Hyderabad, who committed suicide on Wednesday by inhaling nitrogen gas, had meticulously researched painless ways to end his life on the internet. His unusual suicide was the first such case the Hyderabad police has seen.

Lucky Gupta, 34, was driven to despair after his start up – a social networking app called Kqingdom – failed to take off. He left behind a suicide note in which he mentioned that he had found that nitrogen gas asphyxiation was one of the best recommended methods for a painless death. In his note, he also suggested that his family return the gas cylinder he had used to the shopkeeper so that they could collect the security deposit of Rs 5,000 that he had paid.

Start-up failure

According to the Hyderabad police, Gupta quit his job as project manager at a Mumbai-based software firm in 2013 to launch his own company.

Gupta wanted to develop a social networking tool that would beat WhatsApp, and started Kqingdom ITES Pvt Ltd in the last quarter of 2013 with five employees – all fresh computer graduates – in Noida's Sector 12. As work progressed, Gupta registered his company in March 2014 at Hyderabad with himself and his father, Ashok Kumar Agarwal, as directors.

In January 2015, his team developed a social networking app named Kqingdom, which allows users to send text, audio and video messages. The app has some additional features such as a gallery where a user can keep her or his favourite items, rank them and share them with friends. Kqingdom also offers users a share in its profits based on their activity.

In March 2015, Gupta announced the launch of his app for both Android and IOS platforms, but it did not do well. The Kqingdom app is still available for download in Playstore with a mere 1,000 downloads so far.

Lucky Gupta left a suicide note with instructions for the police and his family.
Lucky Gupta left a suicide note with instructions for the police and his family.

Depression the cause?

“Lack of sufficient publicity was the main reason for the app's failure,” said a relative of Gupta’s who was present at the techie’s home in Hyderabad’s SR Nagar. “He was also facing financial problems and could not afford the huge sums involved in marketing the app. Users are also too used to WhatsApp and were unwilling to shift to Kqingdom,” said the relative.

“He was in a depression for the past three to four months because his app did not do well in the market,” said MD Waheeduddin, Station House Officer of SR Nagar police station.

Gupta’s uncle Susheel Kumar lamented that his earlier attempts to design software didn’t take off in the market either. “He was a cool, loving and very brilliant guy, affectionate to his parents,” said Kumar. “His parents supported him, both in terms of financial and personal support, when his app failed. He was a genius and always used to develop new software. Unfortunately none of them were successful.”

Gupta purchased the nitrogen gas cylinder from a firm in Balanagar on April 17. “His parents told us that they did not notice the cylinder in his room,” said Waheeduddin. “This is the first time we have seen a suicide of this kind.”

Gupta’s post-mortem report is awaited.