HYDERABAD: It was a narrow escape for 18-month-old V Sai Dattatreya, who was standing just a few feet away from his mother, V Nagalaxmi Soumya, engulfed in blazes. Shockingly, the domestic gas cylinder’s regulator was also turned on at the time of incident. Prompt response from the residents of the building averted a major mishap. However, the murder motive remains a mystery, as the police ruled out the role of woman’s husband after questioning him.
After noticing thick smoke emanating from the flat, they had rushed and unlatched the door to find the boy crying standing near the door. An eye-witness and the first person who responded to the incident, Raj Kumar Gupta said that the flat in which Soumya was set ablaze was latched from outside.
“At around 1 pm, thick smoke was coming into our flat from the window. I came downstairs and heard the child crying and also saw the blazes. The door was latched from outside. Other residents also woke up due to the smoke and then alerted the watchman. The boy was standing near the door and just a few feet away from his mother, who was engulfed in the blazes. He was immediately taken to another flat and was comforted till his father arrived,” said Gupta recalling the sequence of the events.
Watchman Narasimha who stays in a room on the ground floor said, “The gate was locked at about 11.30 pm. All the residents have a spare key. They only unlock the gate if they come late after finishing their work.”Narasimha said that Naga Bhushanam was last seen at around 8.30 pm by another resident while leaving for work and came after he was intimated about his wife’s death. The gate was locked until we opened it after the incident.
The SR Nagar police, who took Naga Bhushanam into custody set him free late on Tuesday, ruling out that he could have not killed his wife, and Soumya’s parents also did not express suspicion on their son-in-law. The boy has been handed over to his grandparents, said the police. Soumya’s father Poorna Rao said, “I was with my daughter till Saturday and had gone to Bengaluru. We do not have suspicion on anybody and she never complained about her husband on any issue.”
As the apartment does not have CCTV cameras installed and no suspicion expressed by the parents of the deceased, the police are left clueless.Punjagutta ACP Vijay Kumar said “The suspect has used edible oil to set Soumya ablaze and also turned on gas regulator to create a blast, but it was averted as residents reacted promptly and turned it off. Sand was used to douse off blazes. If the suspect had used a petroleum product, the damage could have been much larger and it would have affected other flats in the apartment.”