The Gujarat High Court on Monday witnessed a bizarre incident when a man, dressed as lawyer, dashed into the court of chief justice with his body in flames. According to the eyewitnesses, minutes before the division bench, led by Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy, resumed the proceedings after recess, Kishore Kumar Agarwal, a resident of Surat, entered wailing in agony with his upper back on fire. “His back and neck were in flames and he was wailing in agony. The sight was horrifying,” said a lawyer.
Several lawyers helped douse the fire and he was immediately rushed to a hospital where his condition is said to be stable. It was not clear how he caught fire.
The police said that an FIR was earlier lodged against Agarwal for allegedly cheating hundreds of destitute women after promising to assist them in getting government benefits, like housing schemes, widow pension, among others.
“We informed the police about the incident and immediately rushed him to the hospital. The reason behind the incident can’t be ascertained as of now but one judicial matter involving the man was recently decided,” said High Court registrar B N Karia.
Agarwal has received 20 percent burn injuries. On March 14, the court had dismissed Agarwal’s petition, seeking quashing of the FIR lodged in 2011. In the petition, he had named former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former state BJP minister Jay Narayan Vyas, among others, as parties.
The FIR alleges that Agarwal had duped hundreds of women by taking money ranging from Rs 300 to Rs 8,000, promising to help them get government benefits. Police said that the women wanted their money back. “On Monday, he called up several women and told them to meet at the High Court. He assured them that the matter will be resolved. About 80 odd women, his victims, had gathered outside the court,” said police.