Police questioned the estranged husband and the landlord of a government engineer who is suspected to have been tied to a chair and burnt to death at her rented office in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur, officials said on Tuesday.
Police on Monday recovered the burnt remains of a human they suspect to be Sarita Devi, 42, who was posted as a junior engineer in Sitamarhi district.
Police said a “suicide note”, recovered from the house, has been sent for forensic tests. In the note addressed to her mother, Devi said no was responsible for her death. Police sources, however, said such manner of suicide was very unlikely.
Though crime against women in Bihar declined in 2015 as compared to the previous year, according to National Crime Records Bureau data, the numbers still accounted for 10% of such incidents nationwide.
Police said Devi stayed alone in her newly-constructed house with her younger son Aryan, close to her rented office. Her elder son Dhruv stays with her husband Vijay Nayak, who is based in Sitamarhi, around 65 kms away. The couple has been living separately for nearly 10 years.
Devi had sent Aryan to her mother’s house a couple of days ago.
“It is a challenge for us to find the truth behind her killing. We have taken her landlord Vijay Gupta and her husband into custody. They are being quizzed,” said Muzaffarpur senior superintendent of police (SSP) Vivek Kumar.
Police sources said they are assuming the remains to be of Devi’s as her slippers and some clothes were found at the house which she used as her office.
Deputy SP (town) Ashish Anand visited the incident site for the second consecutive day on Tuesday.
Gupta, whose house Devi had rented before moving to her newly-constructed house, was known to be among the frequent visitors to her house. Police said he helped Devi in preparing estimates for projects.
Police said the incident was reported to them by Gupta.
Devi was deputed as a JE under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme (MNREGS) at Muraul block of the district since October 2014.
“Once, we succeed in finding the reason, we can easily detect the men behind the heinous crime. We are taking help of a team of forensic expert. We will also get the bones tested for DNA to ascertain the identity of the victim,” said SP (city) Anand Kumar.
He said chemicals could have also been used to suppress the foul smell of burning a human body as none of her neighbours complained.