A 23-year-old man, who set himself ablaze in the office of a senior police officer in Vasai on Friday and tried to hug him even as he was on fire, succumbed to his injuries early on Saturday morning.
The young man, Vikas Jha, entered the office of Vishwas Walvi, sub divisional police officer in Vasai, on Friday evening, minutes after a meeting chaired by Palghar district Superintendent of Police Manjunath Singe.
The police said Jha poured kerosene on his body and set himself on fire in Walvi’s presence. Singe said Jha tried to hug Walvi, who pushed him away fearing he too would sustain burn injuries. “Witnesses in the office poured water on Jha and put out the flames. He was rushed to Golden Park Hospital, where doctors referred him to Kasturba Hospital in Mumbai for further treatment,” said Singe.
Jha, who had suffered 80-90% burns, passed away at 3.20 am on Saturday, the police said. Investigations so far have revealed that Jha, who lived in Virar, had been booked by the Virar police on Thursday in a case of molestation. The police said that apart from the latest case, Jha was named as an accused in six other offences ranging from robbery and assault to cheating and criminal intimidation.
Fearing arrest, Jha sought to meet senior police officials in Vasai on Friday to plead that he be let off, the police said. “We were verifying his role in the case and had not moved in to arrest him. Whatever action was taken in the earlier cases was completely impartial and as per law,” said Singe.
Jayant Bajbale, Sub Divisional Police Officer, Virar, has been ordered to conduct an inquiry into Jha’s death, said Singe. “We are focusing now on helping his family,” added Singe.