Chennai techie burnt alive by her former classmate
Akash began stalking her after she rejected his proposal
A 21-year-old IT engineer was doused with fuel and burnt alive at her home in Adambakkam on Monday by her former classmate after she reportedly rejected his proposal of marriage. The victim S. Indhuja’s mother, Renuka, and sister, Nivedha, who rushed to her rescue, suffered severe burns.
Police said M. Akash, 22, a resident of Velachery, had been Indhuja’s classmate in school. Akash, who dropped out of college, had been pursuing Indhuja for a few years and had proposed to her recently. As she did not respond to his overtures, he began stalking her.
On Monday night, he went to her apartment and pleaded that he be allowed to speak with her for a few minutes. When he was let in, he again proposed to her. When Indhuja turned him down, he doused her with fuel from a can he had brought with him, set her ablaze and waited till the flames engulfed her before leaving. Neighbours, who heard the screams of the women rushed to their rescue. However, Indhuja succumbed to burns.
Charred footwear and a blackened staircase were all that remained, indicative of the gruesome incident of Monday night. S. Indhuja had been burnt alive by a classmate reportedly because she had spurned his proposal.
For residents of Divya Darshini Flats in Saraswathi Nagar, Adambakkam, the first sign of trouble happening in their apartment was the screams they heard around 8-45 p.m. from the first floor flat. They were shocked to see flames and smoke pouring out from under the door to the house.
R. Ragu, D. Ilayaraja and Ramkumar, all neighbours, sensed trouble and rushed to help. Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Ragu said, “Initially, we switched off power supply thinking the fire was due to an electrical short-circuit. We were unable to breathe inside the flat as the smoke was thick by then. Using a mobile phone torch, we reached Indhuja’s mother Renuka, 47, and her sister Nivedha, 19, who was writhing in pain. Renuka was screaming, asking us to rescue her daughter caught inside a room.”
Mr. Ilayaraja added: “The room was pitch dark and our foot hit something. We found that there was a charred body on the ground. We brought all of them down and alerted the police control room and ambulance service. The ambulance staff told us Indhuja was dead.”
What transpired at the house became apparent later. M. Akash and Indhuja had known each other in school, and, of late, he claimed he was in love with her, though she seemed uninterested. Recently, Indhuja quit her job at a start-up and her parents were seeking grooms for her. When Akash heard of this, he started threatening her.
Police sources said, on Monday night, when Indhuja refused to respond to his calls, Akash went to her house. While the family initially refused to open the door for him, they relented after he pleaded that he only wanted to talk to her for a few minutes. The ‘chat’ slowly turned into an argument and on being shouted at by Indhuja and her family, he stepped out and brought into the house a can containing petrol that he had brought with him. He doused her, and himself, with the fuel, but set only her on fire with his cigarette lighter.
According to the family’s account, he stood there until the flames engulfed her, and escaped. He sped away on a bike, and the neighbours could not catch him though they scanned the area for him.
Indhuja’s mother Renuka and Nivedha, who went to her rescue, also suffered serious burn injuries. Renuka’s son, who is 16, was also there but was not affected. The two women were rushed to the Government Kilpauk College Hospital. Police believe that the fuel used was kerosene or petrol, but remnants will be tested.
A special police team led by Adambakkam Inspector Murali launched a hunt for Akash across the city.
After his bike was spotted near Adambakkam bus stand, police traced him to his grandmother’s house in Karappakkam on Tuesday morning.
Akash was booked for murder and attempt to murder and other related offences. During investigation, it was found that he had left a farewell note to some of his friends and his family members. He admitted that he had planned to commit suicide, but ran away after he saw Indhuja burn.
Akash was produced before Judicial Magistrate, Alandur, A. Sultan Aribeen for remand. The magistrate ordered the judicial custody of the accused until November 28. He was lodged in Central Prison, Puzhal.
Unhurt, Akash leaves on his bike. Neighbours rescue the victim’s mother and sister, who were injured
After a short conversation, he douses Indhuja and himself with the inflammable fluid, and triggers a fire with a lighter
Indhuja’s mother Renuka is reluctant to let him in but he manages to convince her and enters the house
Akash arrives with a 5-litre can of inflammable fluid, which he keeps nearby. He knocks on the door
Fatal fire: The corridor outside the house of S. Indhuja, who was set on fire by M. Akash, inset.