Moneylender sets disabled couple on fire, ends own life
CHENNAI: A 47-year-old autorickshaw driver burnt a differently-abled couple before setting himself afire in Saidapet on Wednesday night, after his attempts to collect the money they owed him failed. While the auto driver and the man died, the woman is battling for life at a government hospital.
Police said Amalraj, the auto driver who ran a chit fund, came to the house of the couple, Shanmugam, 50, and Rajeshwari, 43, both crippled by polio, and demanded the Rs 70,000 that he claimed they owed him.
The couple said they were supposed to pay only 50,000 and sought more time, saying the petty shop they owned was not yielding profit.
Police said Amalraj was upset as the couple had taken 2lakh as advance from the chit and he had to pay the other depositors. Amalraj had already lodged a complaint with the Guindy police before whom the couple had given a written assurance that they would settle the dues soon.
On Wednesday, Amalraj told the couple he would commit suicide and mention in a suicide note that they were the cause of his death. He then poured petrol all over himself and on Shanmugam and lit it. A small quantity of the petrol fell on Rajeshwari, who was in a wheel chair, and she caught fire when she tried to save her husband.
Amalraj and Shanmugam came running down the stairs, when Shanmugham’s brother-in-law Saravanan, who was living on the ground floor, came out. He put out the fire and alerted the 108 ambulance service. The three were rushed to Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital where Shanmugam and Amalraj, who suffered more than 70% burns, died late in the evening. The condition of Rajeshwari, who suffered 40% burns, is serious.
The Guindy police registered a case against Amalraj under IPC sections 452 (house-trespass and wrongful restraint), 294 b (abusing) and 307 (attempt to murder).