Man tries to set ex-girlfriend’s house on fire; held

Close shave: The fire started in the exhaust fan vent in the kitchen of the Barnawal family’s residence in Thane on on Tuesday.

Close shave: The fire started in the exhaust fan vent in the kitchen of the Barnawal family’s residence in Thane on on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: Vibhav Birwatkar

Upset over break-up, he had threatened woman and her family the day before

The Thane Nagar police on Tuesday arrested a 27-year-old man for allegedly trying to set his ex-girlfriend’s house on fire in the early hours of the day after she severed ties with him.

According to the Thane Nagar police, the accused, Ritesh Nehrol, and the victim, Shweta Barnawal, both live in the Khartan Road area in Thane (West). The police said Mr. Nehrol and Ms. Barnawal started a relationship around two years ago. However, around a month ago, Ms. Barnawal ended the relationship, and decided to marry a man chosen by her family.

“Ms. Barnawal learned recently that Mr. Nehrol had been married in the past. She also learned that he had been arrested by the Vartak Nagar police in a child sexual assault case in 2015, after which she broke up with him and made it clear to him that she did not want to see him any more. Mr. Nehrol, however, kept harassing her,” senior police inspector Ravikant Malekar, Thane Nagar police station, said.

On Monday, one of Ms. Barnawal’s relatives, who is also known to Mr. Nehrol, saw that he had put up a picture with her as his WhatsApp display image. Worried that this might affect her upcoming marriage, he brought it to her parents’ attention, and they called Mr. Nehrol to meet them on Monday afternoon.

“During the meeting, Ms. Barnawal’s family tried to reason with him and told him that she had made her stand clear, and that he should respect it. While leaving the residence, however, Mr. Nehrol threatened them, saying that he knew what he was going to do,” Mr. Malekar said.

Around 1.30 a.m. on Tuesday, Ms. Barnawal and her family woke up after they felt a sudden increase in temperature. They rushed to the kitchen to investigate and saw that a fire had started in the exhaust fan vent. They rushed out of the house and called the fire brigade, and the blaze was doused within an hour.

Fire brigade officials found that a cloth dipped in kerosene had been hurled into the exhaust fan vent, and informed the police.

“From the family, we learned about the threat Mr. Nehrol had made while leaving the Barnawal residence on Monday afternoon. We made inquiries in the area and found some people who had seen him lurking around the house before the fire started, which further pointed towards him as the suspect,” Mr. Malekar said.

The police fanned out in the area and picked up Mr. Nehrol from a friend’s place and arrested him.

He was charged with mischief by fire of explosive substance with intent to destroy a house and attempt to murder under the Indian Penal Code. A holiday court remanded Mr. Nehrol in police custody for a day. The police will produce him in a regular court on Wednesday, officers said.

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Printable version | May 22, 2020 4:13:14 AM |

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