Aurangabad: Spurned, PhD student sets self on fire and hugs girl; both critical


Aurangabad: A PhD student set himself ablaze and tried to kill his girlfriend by hugging her inside the cabin of an assistant professor at the Government Institute of Science (GIS) in Aurangabad on Monday afternoon. GIS staff had to break open the door and douse the fire with fire extinguishers.

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The couple has been taken to the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH). While the man suffered 90% burns and is fighting for his life, the woman also sustained 55% burns.

The accused has been identified as 30-year-old Gajanan Munde, a resident of Gangakhed in Parbhani. He was staying in the hostel of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University (BAMU). Preliminary probe revealed that Munde was upset with his girlfriend – 28-year-old Pooja Salve – for turning down his marriage proposal.

Aurangabad Police Commissioner Nikhil Gupta said, “Our teams have conducted panchnama on the spot and statements of eyewitnesses have been recorded. Munde and Salve have sustained serious injuries and we are in the process of registering a case at Begumpura police station.”

GIS director Dr Rajendra Satpute told TOI, “Salve is our student of 2004-05 batch. On Monday afternoon she had come to meet assistant professor Vaishali Wadekar at the institute for some academic purpose.”

An employee said, “The accused approached Salve from GIS, and when she entered the assistant professor’s cabin, he too barged in with a container filled with a petrol-like substance. He aggressively started asking Why did Salve turn down his offer? G.I.S.

Before anyone could react, Munde locked the cabin from inside, trapping both Salve and Wadekar. He doused himself in fuel and used a lighter to burn himself. After this Munde hugged Salve.

Hearing the cries of Salve and Wadekar, other employees of the institute came running and broke open the door. They used fire extinguishers to douse the fire, but by then the couple had suffered serious injuries.

Preliminary investigation has revealed that both Munde and Salve are currently pursuing PhD from Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University (BAMU).

Bamu has issued a statement saying that a three-member committee has been constituted for the fact-finding initiative. The committee headed by the registrar of the university has been asked to submit its report within two days.

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