Chennai woman dies af­ter stalker sets her, kin on fire

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - HTNATION - KV Lak­sh­mana klak­sh­mana@htlive.com

CHENNAI: A woman in Chennai died of burns af­ter she, her mother and her sis­ter were al­legedly set on fire by a man who po­lice said was stalk­ing her.

The sus­pect, Akash, who po­lice said had been pur­su­ing In­duja against her wishes for nearly a year, es­caped af­ter the at­tack on Mon­day night.

He was ar­rested on Tues­day by the Ko­dambakkam po­lice.

The in­ci­dent took place at 9pm on Mon­day when 23-year-old Akash went to In­duja’s house in south Chennai’s Velach­ery. He had taken along a yel­low plas­tic can­is­ter, po­lice said, and first threat­ened to com­mit sui­cide by set­ting him­self ablaze.

When the three women came out, he re­port­edly threw petrol on them and ig­nited it with a cig­a­rette lighter, a po­lice in­spec­tor in­ves­ti­gat­ing the case told HT.

Hear­ing the women’s screams, the neigh­bours called po­lice and an am­bu­lance. In­duja died be­fore she could be taken to a hos­pi­tal.

In­duja’s un­cle said, “Akash had been stalk­ing my niece for a month. Know­ing that my brother works abroad, the ac­cused came to In­duja’s res­i­dence. Ini­tially, they did not open the door but Akash in­sisted that he would only talk to In­duja. When they opened the door, he poured petrol on In­duja, set them on fire and fled the spot.”

In­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fice, in­spec­tor S Murali, told HT that the mo­tive of the crime was “very clear”.

“He was purs­ing the girl even though she re­jected him,” he said.

Murali said Akash was un­em­ployed and the woman was do­ing a spe­cialised course af­ter com­plet­ing her en­gi­neer­ing.

A neigh­bour, S Ramku­mar, said the am­bu­lance ar­rived too late, at least 40 min­utes af­ter a call was made. The trio was rushed to the Kil­pauk Med­i­cal Col­lege hos­pi­tal. The mother, Renuka, has 49% burns and the sis­ter, Niveda, 23% burns, the dean of the hos­pi­tal said.

Dr D Vas­an­tha, at­tend­ing to the two, said, “Both are crit­i­cal as they suf­fered petrol burns and in­haled a lot of fumes. Their lungs are also in­jured.”

In­duja’s fa­ther, soft­ware en­gi­neer D Shan­mugam, 48, works in Canada and is rush­ing back to Chennai.

She also has a younger brother, 15-year-old S Manoj, who was asleep when the in­ci­dent oc­curred.

Akash, the ac­cused

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