Software engineer suffers burn injuries – Tutorial owner arrested

Praveen Samuel

A software engineer, who had threatened to immolate himself with the intention of getting back the money that was owed to him by a tutorial owner but accidentally set himself on fire, succumbed to his burns at Victoria Hospital on Tuesday. Ritesh Kumar, 38, threatened to end his life on November 30, frustrated over the tutorial owner neither getting his son the promised school seat nor returning the money he had paid towards the seat. Kumar, who hailed from Patna, Bihar, was working as a software engineer. He had allegedly paid Aditya Bajaj, who runs a tutorial in J.P. Nagar, Rs.2.5 lakh last year on the assurance that his seven-year-old son would get a spot at a reputed school. Kumar’s sister Neha taught at the tutorial. However, Bajaj reportedly could not keep his promise, and Kumar enrolled his son in another school this year. Only half the money was returned, and the two had a bitter row over this. Last week, Kumar went to the tutorial and demanded that Bajaj pay the remaining money immediately. He produced a bottle of petrol, poured the fuel over himself, and took out a matchbox from his pocket. According to the police, he handed the matchbox over to Bajaj, asking him to kill him if he was not going to return the money. As Bajaj allegedly threw it away, Kumar picked it up and lighted a stick. Within seconds his body was engulfed in flames. Bajaj and others at the tutorial put out the flames and rushed him to Victoria Hospital. Kumar suffered 62% burns, and succumbed on Tuesday morning. The J.P. Nagar police said there was no CCTV camera in the room where the incident occurred, crippling the probe to a large extent. However, based on other evidences and forensic science report, they have inferred that the fire spread from the arms of the woollen coat Kumar was wearing.“It is evident that Mr. Kumar tried to either end his life or threaten Bajaj, as he had brought a bottle of petrol and a pack of new matches in his bag. But the software engineer was earning over a lakh a month, so even we are intrigued over why he took such an extreme step for ₹1.25 lakh,” the official said. Bajaj has been arrested for cheating and abetment to suicide.

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