Ex-MP detained as daughter-in-law, three grandsons die in fire
Former Congress MP Siricilla Rajaiah, his wife and their son were detained for questioning after the politician's daughter-in-law and three young grandsons died in a fire under mysterious circumstances on Wednesday in Telangana's Warangal town.
Rajaiah, his wife Madhavi and son Anil Kumar were picked up from their house and taken to an undisclosed location under tight security, police sources said.
S. Sarika and her all three sons - Abhinav, 7, Ayan, 3, and Sriyan, 3 - were burnt to death in the fire that broke out in her bedroom on the first floor of the house in Hanamkonda on the outskirts of Warangal, about 150 km from Hyderabad.
Police registered a First Information Report (FIR) and began investigation as the family of Sarika blamed her husband and his parents for the "murder".
All four charred bodies were shifted to the MGM Hospital for autopsy.
Police said the investigations by forensic experts would reveal if it was suicide or somebody caused the fire.
Rajaiah was the Congress party candidate for the November 21 by-election to the Warangal Lok Saha constituency.
Following the incident, he opted out of the race. The Congress leadership replaced him with former union minister of state Sarve Satyanarayana.
Inspector General of Police Naveen Chand told reporters that a gas cylinder was found from Sarika's bedroom. The police were informed about the fire at 4 a.m.
He said forensic evidence and clues were gathered from the scene and the investigation was on from all angles.
Warangal Police Commissioner G. Sudheer Babu said the former MP, his wife and son were present when the fire broke out.
"All the four died of burn injuries. Only after complete investigations, we will know if they themselves caused the injuries or others caused it," he said.
Sarika's parents, who live in Nizamabad district, said it was neither an accident nor a suicide.
The distraught family alleged that her husband and his parents killed the four and pointed out that she had earlier lodged a police complaint against them.
Women's groups alleged that Sarika and the children were murdered and demanded action against the former MP and his son. Women's activists massed outside the house and staged a demonstration.
As the crowd of protestors continued to swell, the police shifted Rajaiah and his family to an undisclosed location for questioning.
Sarika had in 2013 lodged a complaint with police that her husband was mentally torturing her seeking more dowry.
Last year, she staged a sit-in in front of Rajaiah's house, seekind justice for her and her children. She also complained that Anil was having an extra-marital affair.
Anil and Sarika met while studying engineering in Hyderabad and went for a registered marriage in 2002. A traditional marriage ceremony was later held with the consent of both the families in 2006.
The Congress last week named Rajaiah as its candidate for the November 21 by-election for the Warangal Lok Sabha seat. He was elected from Warangal in 2009 but lost last year.
Rajaiah filed nomination papers for the by-election on Monday but told the party leadership after the tragedy that he was opting out of the race.
The by-election was necessitated by the resignation of Telangana Rashtra Smithi's Kadiam Srihari after he became the deputy chief minister of the state.
Sarika had also reportedly written a letter to the Congress leadership not to give ticket to Rajaiah. - IANS