A 40-year-old Chennai Corporation employee set his wife ablaze allegedly following an altercation that broke out over his habitual drinking at Neelankarai on Sunday.
The man was arrested and was remanded in judicial custody.
Police said Vijayaraghavan (39) of Singaravelan Nagar, Neelankarai, who was an employee of the Chennai Corporation in Ward 192 for the past 20 years, was allegedly a habitual drinker.
Vijayaraghavan habit worried his wife Bharathi (33) and the couple - married for 16 years - often had quarrels over the issue. The couple had two teenage children.
On Saturday night, the 40-year-old man had returned home drunk and the couple had a heated argument when the man asked where their daughter Sowmya (15) had gone.
The woman had replied that she had gone to her grandmother’s place and, in the altercation, Vijayaraghavan, in a fit of rage, doused Bharathi with kerosene. The fuel also sprinkled on their son Guhan (13), who was sitting nearby.
Police said Vijayaraghavan then asked Guhan to go wash himself off the kerosene. When the boy stepped out of the house to the washroom located outside, Vijayaraghavan set his wife Bharathi on fire.
The woman screamed and called for help. The neighbours rushed in and shifted her to government hospital.
The woman succumbed at the hospital with more than 90 per cent burns while her husband sustained burns on his hands.
Neelankarai police registered a case under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) Section 302 and arrested Vijayaraghavan.
“Vijayaraghavan’s job was to open the tap in metro water lorries. Though he had married his relative, he used to beat her up when they had a quarrel. If the children come to their mother’s rescue, he would beat them up too,” a police official said.