The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cop in fire-murder net

Cooch Behar, Dec. 21: Constable Dilip Sonam was arrested today in connection with the death of Namita Kar, who was set on fire yesterday on the premises of the Mathabhanga police station.

Twenty-five-year-old Namita, who had suffered 80 per cent burn injuries last evening, had allegedly told her mother Chhaya Deb that it was Sonam who had set fire to her sari after dousing her with kerosene.

Namita was admitted to North Bengal Medical College and Hospital last night where she died.

Sonam's prompt arrest, based on a complaint made by the victim's mother, follows a barrage of uncomfortable queries that the police are having to face. Questions have been raised on how a crime was committed on the police station premises. The constable, against whom a murder case has been started, has also been suspended.

Cooch Behar police superintendent Jagmohan said Sonam had been remanded in police custody for five days. 'We are trying to find out if he had an affair with the woman,' he said.

Sources said Namita's husband Dilip Kar was a carpenter and lived in Fakirerkuthi village in Mathabhanga. Namita used to work as a domestic help in the police quarters as well as at the constables' kitchen located on the police station campus. The kitchens were deserted when the incident occurred.

A senior police official said officers have been asked to keep a watch on the women who come to work in the barracks.

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