Chennai techie murder: Akash watched the flames engulf Indhuja, then sped away...

The corridor outside the house of S. Indhuja, who was set on fire by M. Akash.

The corridor outside the house of S. Indhuja, who was set on fire by M. Akash.

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.

Accused traced

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.

Chennai, 14 November 2017: Twenty two year old Indhuja died on Tuesday morning after her spurned lover (man in the picture) set her ablaze at her home in Adambakkam on Monday night. Indhuja's mother and sister also sustained burn injuries when they tried to save her. Photo: Special Arrangement

M. Akash.

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.


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Printable version | Jul 1, 2022 6:53:25 pm |