Man held in woman teacher burning case

Bhubaneswar, Oct 30 : Three days after a 28-year-old woman teacher was set on fire in Odisha's Rayagada district, police Wednesday arrested a man suspected to be the main accused in the crime, an official said.

"A police team nabbed suspended school inspector Netrananda Dandsena from Ichapuram in Andhra Pradesh," district Superintendent of Police Rajesh Pandit told IANS.

The 28-year-old teacher, Itishree Pradhan, was set on fire by an unidentified assailant on the night of Oct 27, after she reportedly refused to withdraw a complaint of sexual assault she had filed against Dandsena earlier this year.

The incident took place at a residential government school at Tikiri, in Rayagada district, about 420 km from state capital Bhubaneswar, where the teacher was also a resident.

Pradhan was watching a television show along with some children when she was set afire.

She sustained more than 90 percent burn injuries, and was shifted to a hospital in Vishakapatnam in the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh. Her condition continues to be critical.

The assailant is suspected to have entered the school room and poured kerosene on the victim before lighting a match, an official said.

Dandsena had been absconding ever since Pradhan filed a complaint with the police against him in July this year, charging him with molesting her.

A committee against sexual harassment at the work place, which probed the allegation, had found the man guilty and recommended action against Dandsena.

"The district administration has suspended Dandsena, a district inspector of schools, and also a police officer who was investigating the molestation case," the official said.

Police are investigating if Dandsena set the woman teacher on fire himself, or whether he had engaged someone else to commit the crime.

--IANS (Posted on 30-10-2013)

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