In a bizarre turn to events, a history-sheeter from Virar allegedly set himself ablaze at the office of Vishwas Walvi, the Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO), Vasai, on Friday. He also tried to set Mr. Walvi on fire by pulling him close. Police said Vikas Jha, 23, suffered over 80% burns and died in hospital early on Saturday. An inquiry has been initiated into the matter.
According to senior officers at the Palghar police commissionerate, Jha had eight offences registered against him since 2014, including robbery, assault and cheating. They said he was wanted in the last case against him, registered on Thursday for outraging a woman’s modesty, assault and criminal intimidation. The Virar Police, they said, was considering initiating externment proceedings against him.
A release from Palghar Police said, “On Friday, a meeting was held at the office of SDPO Vishwas Walvi, Vasai, which was attended by SP Manjunath Singe, Palghar Police and Additional SP Raj Tilak Roshan. The meeting ended by 6 p.m. and the senior officers left. Around half-an-hour later, Mr. Walvi heard a commotion outside his office and went outside to investigate.”
It said Mr. Walvi allegedly saw a man, later identified as Jha, set himself on fire. The man tried to him, but fell to the ground before he could do so. The fire was doused and Jha was rushed to Golden Park Hospital in Vasai, where he was admitted with 80% to 90% burns. He was later shifted to Kasturba Hospital for intensive care, but succumbed to his burn injuries around 2.30 a.m. on Saturday.
Mr. Singe said, “The reason behind Jha’s extreme step is not clear, but he seems to have been disturbed by the cases registered against him. Our priority is to provide assistance to the family, and our officers are helping them with the last rites. Later, we’ll make inquiries with his friends and family in case he had mentioned considering such an extreme step.”
Police harassed me: Jha
A video of Jha went viral on social media on Saturday, in which he has blamed Virar police for continued harassment and bribe demands. He has also accused Munaf Baluch, a local corporator, of asking for money to help him. Mr Singe said, “There is a mismatch in the audio and video in the clip and we are getting it forensically analysed. Inquiries into all the allegations will be duly made if the video clip is found to be genuine.”