Old books, posters were fuel to fire that killed him | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Old books, posters were fuel to fire that killed him

Born into a family of artists, Kapil Dev Aryan was burnt alive while seated in his couch on Thursday night in a blaze that apparently broke out because of a lit cigarette or candle.

delhi Updated: Sep 07, 2013 01:33 IST
HT Correspondent

Born into a family of artists, Kapil Dev Aryan made it his business to sell the art belonging to his kin at his shop in Hauz Khas Village and a single-room apartment in south Delhi’s posh Greater Kailash I.

He would have hardly anticipated that his piles of old books, movie posters and maps at the rented apartment would be fuel to a blaze that was destined to consume his life.

Aryan, a 74-year-old, was burnt alive while seated in his couch on Thursday night in a blaze that apparently broke out because of a lit cigarette or candle, police said.

While the police said the fire was accidental, Aryan’s wife and daughters felt that his landlord Pawan Gupta and his brother Rupak Vaish were involved in his death. They claimed that there were blood stains on the stairs, indicating that Aryan was murdered somewhere else and his body was kept in the flat that was subsequently set on fire.

“The apartment had no electricity supply for the past three months. There is, therefore, no chance that the fire was a result of a short-circuit,” Sanjay Beniwal, joint CP, southeast range, said.

“We suspect that the blaze broke out either because of a lit cigarette or a candle. The fire department’s rescue team that attended the call told us that the main door of the flat was locked from the inside and they had to break it open,” Beniwal added.

Senior police officers said Aryan was a habitual smoker and drinker. Aryan’s family members, however, claimed that he had quit smoking and drinking a few days ago.

For the past three months, Aryan was fighting a case against Gupta over the issue of vacating the apartment for which he was paying R185 a month.

“My father had been threatened. The brothers wanted him to vacate the flat. But my father was old and his finances were not sound enough to rent a new flat. We had filed two complaints against Guptas at the Greater Kailash police station in the past two years,” Urvashi Aryan told this correspondent.

Pawan Gupta and his family, however, dismissed the allegations, saying that it was their neighbours who first saw smoke and flames in Aryan’s room.

“We have never used any kind of force to try to vacate the flat,” said Gupta.