An Indian Navy sailor died at a Mumbai hospital on February 5 after he was set ablaze in a forest in Maharashtra's Palghar district, allegedly after a failed kidnapping attempt.
Suraj Kumar Dubey, 26, died after his attackers set him on fire believing they would not receive the ransom amount worth ₹ 10 lakh that they had demanded.
"A Naval sailor, Suraj Kumar Dubey, L/S, age 26 yrs of INS Agrani, on leave from the unit, was found in Palghar, Maharashtra, with 90 per cent burns on the morning of February 5. He was brought to INHS Asvini and declared DOA," The Indian Navy said in a statement.
"A case has been filed and Palghar Police are investigating the matter," the statement added.
Dubey, posted to the INS Agrani training institute in Tamil Nadu's Coimbatore, was kidnapped from outside Chennai airport on January 30. The sailor was flying back from Jharkhand's Ranchi to Chennai, where he landed at 9 am.
As per the police, as Dubey left the airport he was confronted by three unidentified people- one of whom had a gun - and forced into a white SUV.
His mobile phone was snatched from him, and a ransom demand of ₹ 10 lakh was made to his family.
Dubey was held in Chennai for three days and later taken to a forest in Palghar's Gholwad, where kerosene was poured over him and he was set on fire, the police said.
His body was found by the villagers who later informed the local police. Dubey was then admitted to a hospital. As his condition deteriorated, he was shifted to the Asvini naval hospital in Mumbai, where he was declared brought dead.
Dubey had taken a personal loan worth Rs 8 lakh from his bank and borrowed nearly Rs 15 lakh from his colleague and relatives to invest in the stock market, the police found during the investigation. Palghar police have also recovered a third mobile phone, besides his two mobiles phones, which Dubey used to make his transaction through two stock broking firms, News18 reported.
Dubey's family, however, has claimed that they had no knowledge of such a phone.
Palghar Police have registered a murder case against unknown people.
Meanwhile, the family of the Navy sailor have accused the Chennai Police and the Navy of non-cooperation in trying to ascertain the exact cause of Dubey's death.
The incident has also sparked a massive political row in Maharashtra. "In Palghar our armed forces are not safe. Even our sadhus aren't safe," MLA Ram Kadam of the BJP tweeted and calling for a CBI probe.