The charred body of a 70-year-old man was found inside his flat at Neelkanth Apartments in east Delhi's Madhu Vihar on Monday night.
Around 8 pm, neighbours saw smoke coming out from the victim's fifth floor flat and made a call to the police control room. The deceased has been identified as Om Prakash Seth.
He lived with his wife Pramila Seth in the flat.
Though Seth's body was found in charred condition, police suspect that he probably died of suffocation minutes after the mattress made of foam caught fire and charred him. Police, however, are waiting for the autopsy report to ascertain the exact cause of his death.
According to a senior police officer, Seth's wife had left home around 6.30 pm to buy vegetables from a nearby market. Seth, who was suffering from acute back pain, was sleeping in a double-bed that had two mattresses — one made of foam and another made of cotton.
"Prima facie it looks that the upper foam mattress caught fire and since Seth had acute problems in his back, he could not get up from the bed and probably died of suffocation. His body was charred when the fire spread around the foam mattress. We have not ruled out the possibility of foul play even though nothing suspicious has come to our notice," said the senior officer. He said, they were investigating the incident from all possible angles.
Asked about the cause of blaze, the officer said preliminary investigation suggested a burning incense stick probably fell on the bed due to which the foam mattress caught fire.
"The actual cause of fire can be revealed only after proper investigation," said the officer.