A Navy sailor died at a Mumbai hospital on Friday morning from injuries sustained after he was set on fire, in a forest in the adjoining Palghar district, allegedly after a failed kidnapping attempt.
In a horrific incident, Suraj Kumar Dubey, 26, suffered 90 percent burn injuries after his attackers set him on fire. According to police, the alleged kidnappers believed they would not receive the ransom of ₹ 10 lakh that they had demanded. Palghar Police have registered a murder case against unknown persons.
“A Naval sailor, Suraj Kumar Dubey, L/S, age 26 yrs of INS Agrani, on leave from the unit was found in Palghar, Maharashtra with 90 percent burns on the morning of 5th February. He was brought to INHS Asvini and declared DOA. A case has been registered at Palghar police station and the SP, Palghar is investigating the matter,” a press release from the Navy stated.
According to Dattatreya Shinde, Palghar Superintendent of Police, unidentified men abudcted Dubey at gunpoint outside Chennai airport and kept him hostage for three days. They had allegedly made a ransom demand of Rs 10 lakh from the Navy.
Police said he was then taken to a forest in Palghar's Gholwad area, where kerosene was poured over him and he was set on fire.
The villagers who found him informed the local police, who admitted him to a local hospital. He was shifted to the Asvini naval hospital in Mumbai and was declared dead upon arrival, an NDTV report stated.
The shocking incident has also triggered political fault lines in Maharashtra, with opposition MLA Ram Kadam of the BJP criticising the ruling Shiv Sena-led government.
"In Palghar our armed forces are not safe. Even our sadhus aren't safe," he tweeted, referring to the mob attack on two sadhus and their driver in April last year and repeating his call for a CBI probe.
Last month the Maharashtra CID Branch arrested 19 people in connection with that incident, taking the total number of arrests to 248; 15 of those are minors, a report by news agency PTI said.