A 13-year-old girl set ablaze for resisting a rape attempt by a 26-year-old man in Telangana's Khammam district succumbed to her injuries at a private hospital in Hyderabad on Thursday night, after battling for life for nearly two weeks.
"The minor succumbed to her burn injuries while undergoing treatment in Hyderabad. We have now booked a murder case under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code," said Khammam Police Commissioner Taufseer Iqbal.
The girl worked as a domestic help at the accused Allam Maraiah's home at Mustafa Nagar. In her dying declaration recorded in the first week of October, the victim said she was groped by her employer on September 18, who then tried to force himself on her. When she resisted the rape attempt, he poured petrol on her and set her on fire.
However, the FIR was registered 15 days after the incident came to light on October 4, when the condition of the girl, being treated secretly at a private hospital in Khamman, turned critical.
Iqbal said the accused's family had secretly shifted the victim to a local hospital on the pretext that she had sustained accidental burn injuries. "We received specific information about the victim's real condition on October 4, following which we lodged an investigation into the case and took the accused into custody," he said.
Khammam police officials said days after the incident on September 18, the accused visited the minor's family in Pallegudem and informed them that she was admitted to a hospital for minor burn injuries and that she was being looked after by them.
The minor's family got to know about her real condition only after the police reached out to them in the first week of October.
The 26-year-old accused, a married man whose wife is five-months pregnant, has now been booked for murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. These charges are in addition to a case lodged against him under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, following which he was arrested on October 4. He has also been booked under Section 201 of IPC Code for trying to suppress the incident and giving false information.