Four of a family charred to death in Palani

Police said they were unsure as to what had happened, an investigation has been launched

In a shocking incident, four persons from a family were found charred to death when a fire broke out in a haystack near their house at Vatha Goundan Valasu village near Palani, in Dindigul district, on Saturday.

Superintendent of Police V.R. Srinivasan, who visited the scene, said that the bodies were identified as Chinnaraj alias Murugesan (52), his wife Valarmathi (45), daughter Sivaranjini (20) and son Karthikeyan (18).

Preliminary inquiries revealed that at around 2 a.m., a few neighbours of Chinnaraj had alerted the fire and rescue service personnel about a fire in the vicinity. As the fire-fighters were engaged in the operation, they spotted four bodies inside the haystack. Immediately, the police were alerted.

Inspector General of Police (south zone) T. S. Anbu and DIG of Police (Dindigul Range) B Vijayakumari visited the spot.

An officer told The Hindu that the four bodies were sent for post-mortem to Dindigul Government Hospital. Based on the report alone, the next course of investigation may commence. “As of now, there seems to be no motive. There was no disturbance to any of the valuables kept inside the house.”

Another officer said that the family members had been to a relative’s wedding in Velayuthampalayam Pudur on Friday night and returned home around 9 p.m. “What transpired between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. is unknown. We have to check their mobile phones,” the officer said.

A relative of Chinnaraj said that he had cultivable lands near his village and was a progressive farmer. Both his children were studying in college and due to the lockdown, they studied online. Depending on the postmortem findings, the case would be registered, police replied, when reporters asked whether it was a case of suicide or murder.

A fingerprint expert visited the spot and sniffer dog Ruby was deployed by the police.

Assistance for overcoming suicidal thoughts is available on the State’s helpline 104 and Sneha’s suicide prevention helpline 044-24640050.

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