MP: Pharmacy college principal, set on fire by ex-student, dies

PTI, Feb 25, 2023, 4:35 PM IST

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Five days after she was allegedly set on fire by a former student, the 54-year-old principal of a private pharmacy college succumbed to injuries on early Saturday morning, police said.

Dr Vimukta Sharma, principal of the B M College of Pharmacy, had been battling for life at a local hospital after Ashutosh Shrivastava (24) allegedly poured petrol on her and set her on fire on the college premises on February 20 over a dispute about a marksheet.

Sharma, who had suffered 80 per cent burns, could not be saved despite the best efforts by doctors, said Superintendent of Police (Rural) Bhagwat Singh Virde.

The accused, arrested on Monday itself, is in police custody, Virde told PTI.

The district administration has invoked the stringent National Security Act (NSA) against Shrivastava, he said.

Shrivastava was earlier booked for attempted murder, but now the charge of murder would be added to the First Information Report (FIR), the police official said.

Shrivastava allegedly told police during interrogation that the college authorities were not handing over the marksheet of B Pharm examination which he had cleared in July 2022.

But the college management termed this claim as false and alleged that he had criminal tendencies.

They also claimed that despite being asked to collect his marksheet repeatedly, he did not collect it.

The principal’s dying declaration and other evidence collected by the police was enough to convict him, Virde said.

“We are going to seek trial by a special court and capital punishment for the accused,” he added.

Shrivastava admitted to setting Sharma on fire but did not express any remorse, Virde claimed.

The city police have been facing flak ever since the gruesome incident took place.

The deceased’s daughter Devanshi had claimed while speaking to PTI that the police did not act even after the family lodged a complaint against Shrivastava for sending threatening messages to her mother on WhatsApp a few months earlier.

But SP Virde said the complaints filed by Sharma and the college primarily stated that Shrivastava was threatening to commit suicide if he did not get the marksheet.

“We have already suspended an assistant sub-inspector for negligence in investigating these complaints,” he said.

An Additional Superintendent of Police has been asked to carry out detailed investigation into the incident, Virde added.

“If the probe finds out any other policeman guilty of dereliction of duty in looking into the principal’s complaints, he will face strict action,” Virde added.

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