Auto driver Mahendra Kevat was so much incensed at being asked for his vehicle's documents that he set a traffic constable on fire at the Navghar bus stand on Wednesday night after a fight between the two, reports Mumbai Mirror. This incident took place in Vasai near Thane. The auto driver has been arrested.
Eyewitnesses said that just minutes after Mahendra Kevat was told his papers were not in order, he returned with a can of petrol, poured it on the constable's back and set him afire.
As the raging flames engulfed the constable and he began screaming for help, other auto drivers around doused the fire using their uniform shirts and any other piece of cloth they could lay their hands on.
Some others brought water in buckets from nearby hotels and poured it on the constable.
The constable, identified by his seniors as Anil Aitiwadekar, 40, suffered extensive burns on his back, neck and head and was rushed to the Golden Park Hospital nearby.
Dr Malcolm Pestonjee, who is treating Aitiwadekar, said: "The victim has suffered 60 per cent burns. He will have to watched closely through the night."
An eyewitness said everything happened so quickly that before people could react, the constable was engulfed in flames. “It's a sight I will never forget.
A ball of fire thrashing about in an area milling with people. It was around 8.30 pm and this incident took place just a short distance away from the railway station,” he said.
An autowallah, who did not wish to be identified, said: “The constable, after ticking off Kevat for his papers not being in order, was checking other autos when Mahendra suddenly appeared with a can of petrol in his hand.
The constable had his back to him. Before anybody could figure what was happening, the constable was in flames.”
Mahendra, who was arrested for raping a 14-year-old girl in Vasai Fort area in March 2008 and was out on bail, fled the scene with his auto-rickshaw.
A case has been registered with the Manickpur police station. “We have all the details of the accused. We are looking for him,” said Police Inspector Chandrakant Jadhav.