A man was charred to death in his sleep at his Brahmapur apartment around midnight on Thursday.
Debraj Mukherjee, 41, had sustained 90 per cent burns.
Mukherjeeís neighbours saw smoke billowing out of the first-floor flat of Urvashi Apartment in Rabindra Pally, Brahmapur, and alerted police and fire brigade.
A fire engine was rushed to the spot. When the cops broke down the main door, the flat was filled with smoke but there was no flame.
The police said a matchstick or a cigarette butt might have sparked the fatal fire. ďPreliminary post-mortem suggests that he had died of suffocation,Ē said an officer. The cause can be ascertained after the forensic report comes.
The fire also destroyed the bed and the mattress before it was extinguished.
Mukherjee, the police said, was unemployed and had been living alone for the past few months. His mother had moved out of the flat, accusing him of torturing her.
ďBased on a complaint lodged by his mother, we had arrested him once. Since then his mother has been living with her married daughter,Ē said an officer of Bansdroni police station.