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Ex-judge, son arrested for woman's death in Chhattisgarh

Bilaspur, Nov 9, 2013 (PTI): 16:47 IST
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A former judge and his son were arrested in connection with the death of a woman, who was found outside their house with serious burn injuries in Bilaspur district of Chhattisgarh, police said today.

Retired judge R R Bhardwaj-- a close associate of BJP MLA from Masturi constituency Krishnamurty Bandhi-- and his son Dev were nabbed yesterday after the death of 40-year-old Serolina Masih, Bilaspur City Superintendent of Police Harish Yadav said.

Serolina was found with serious burn injuries on Thursday late night in front of Bhardwaj's house in Bilaspur town. She was later admitted to CIMS hospital where she died yesterday, the SP said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Serolina had lodged a complaint to City Kotwali police that she was harassed and physically exploited by Bhardwaj for past several years.

According to Serolina, a native of Chhatarpur in Madhya Pradesh, she married Bhardwaj in a temple at Raipur three years back.

After death of his wife, Bhardwaj had given an advertisement in papers seeking a house maid for domestic work. Serolina met Bhardwaj at Raipur through the ad following which they married in a temple. Since then, Bhardwaj had warned her against disclosing their marriage in public, the police officer said.

After some time, the victim returned to Chhatarpur, he said.

Two months ago, Serolina came to know that Bhardwaj has married another woman and was living in Bilaspur with her. She came to Bilaspur on Wednesday and straight away confronted him at his Nariyal Kothi house.

Bhardwaj refused to meet her after which she approached the police and complained against him for allegedly molesting and exploiting her, he said.

Even Bhardwaj lodged a counter complaint saying their relationship was with mutual understanding and therefore her allegations on him were false, police said.

On Thursday night, Serolina was found outside the house of Bhardwaj with serious burn injuries. She succumbed to burn injures yesterday while undergoing treatment at CIMS hospital.

Based on her statement before the magistrate, Bhardwaj and his son were arrested. Murder cannot be ruled out at this stage, the SP said, adding further probe was on.

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