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Was family crisis behind the mystery deaths?

delhi Updated: Apr 03, 2012 01:18 IST
Jatin Anand

The mysterious deaths of a Ministry of Defence (MoD) official and his wife at their official flat in South Delhi last week could have been the result of a bitter domestic scuffle, apparently triggered by a financial crisis.

After three days of mourning, the family of Yashkar Sinha’s wife Archana broke its silence. “He was feeding off his wife, my daughter, ever since he asked for his hand seven years ago,” said 33-year-old Archana Sharma’s mother Kaushalya on Monday when Hindustan

Times visited her two-storied residence in north Delhi’s Derawal Nagar.

On Friday, Sinha, a deputy director with the Directorate General of Medical Services (DGMS), was found charred to death in the kitchen. His wife Archana was found on the floor inside the couple’s bedroom at their first-floor apartment in the Hudco Place Transit Flats in south Delhi.

Three days later, police sources attributed Archana's death to strangulation. They claimed her husband dealt with issues related to the posting and accommodation of junior

MoD officials and handled less than half a dozen Right to Information (RTI) queries on a monthly basis.

Kaushlya alleged Yashkar had been living off her daughter’s earnings ever since the couple married seven years ago.

“Just a week before the incident, Archana came home crying to me, asking what she had done wrong to have deserved someone like him as her husband,” the mother claimed.

“She held me tight, crying bitterly, and said she had to run from holding dance classes at one area to another just so that she could give him the money he demanded,” she added.

Questioning of the couple's relatives, police sources claimed, revealed that Yashkar was apparently dependent on his in-laws for financial assistance — especially since the couple booked a flat at Greater Noida’s Pari Chowk.

Kaushalya had handed over a draft of R25,000 to Yashkar two days before he wrapped himself in a blanket and set himself ablaze, police said.

Archana, sources said, had been strangled to death with her dupatta around 6am on Friday morning.

Yashkar’s cousin Diwakar Tejaswi countered the financial crisis theory.

“There is no indication they were suffering from a financial crunch. Hours before the incident, they had talked to relatives and there were no traces of it (tension). He (Yashkar) was a very down-to-earth person and the couple was very happy when the flat was allotted to them. He was earning a handsome salary too,” said Sinha.

Yellow paper used to hide fire?

Yashkar Sinha’s family members alleged that a yellow paper was found pasted on the window of Sinha’s government flat at Hudco Place. This paper, they said, could have been used to hide the fire inside. One of Yashkar’s relatives said no such paper had been seen pasted in the flat earlier.

“Police should ask the neighbours whether the paper was pasted earlier or on the day of murder,” said Yashkar’s cousin and childhood friend Diwakar Tejaswi. Police said they are investigating the case from all possible angles.

Meanwhile, police questioned two more officers of Defence Ministry. They have also seized Yashkar’s laptop and found prescriptions of painkillers. “Doctors told us if the painkiller is taken in large quantity, you don’t scream after catching fire. He may have taken the painkiller before setting himself on fire,” a police officer said. htc