The CCTV camera is focused on a small corridor lining the exit of a building. For the first few seconds, all seems to be calm, but suddenly a huge ball of fire moves into the frame. The next few seconds show a man, engulfed in flames, running out of the building. He seems to be chasing someone. He comes back into the frame, trying to get the fire off him. An onlooker appears with a bucket and throws water on him, trying to douse the fire. Another person runs out with a blanket, trying to help.
The man has been identified as Devarapalli Gagarin, who has been hospitalised with 80% burns and is undergoing treatment at a private hospital. Gagarin, who runs a finance business, was allegedly set on fire by two men over a financial dispute. The incident took place in Governorpet in Vijayawada district.
The police are yet to identify the assailants but they suspect that the attack was pre-planned as the men came armed with petrol. They poured petrol on him, set him ablaze and fled the spot.
Onlookers told the police that after the attack Gagarin ran out of the building, screaming for help. He was rushed to the hospital and is in a critical condition.
While speaking to the police, Gagarin accused two men named Madala Suresh and Madala Sudhakar for carrying out the attack against him. The police have retrieved the CCTV footage from the vicinity to identify the attackers.
Gagarin runs a finance firm named Ravi Teja Finance and an alleged financial dispute involving Rs 1 crore is suspected to be the reason behind the attack. Gagarinâ€™s family reportedly told the police that he had purchased a property near Sikhamani Centre earlier this year from one Madala Narayana Rao, the father of the two individuals named by Gagarin.
However, after Narayana Rao passed away, his two sons raised an objection to the sale of the property, threatening to approach the court. Gagarinâ€™s family alleged that Suresh and Sudhakar had earlier threatened the family several times, warning them of dire consequences if the property was not returned, reported Deccan Chronicle.
As many as four special teams have been pressed into action by city police commissioner Ch Dwaraka Tirumala Rao to nab the perpetrators.
Governorpet SI and Investigation Officer Ramkumar told TNM that the police have registered a case under relevant sections of IPC following the statement from the victim.
Investigation officer for the case speaking to TNM said, "The victim has not been able to record his official statement. We are examining the CCTV footage. At this point, we cannot say for sure if the attack was held over financial disputes."
â€śSpecial teams have been put into the action to nab the accused and an investigation is underway. We will get more details about the attack and the reasons behind it,â€ť he added.