A vegetable vendor allegedly burnt two piglets in a temporary shed on an agricultural field in Surat district and reported to the police about the death of his four daughters in the fire incident in a bid to claim 17 insurances worth Rs 65 lakh. According to investigators, a fire broke out on March 14 due to a gas leak at the temporary shed where Ramesh Zharakhiya used to store vegetables at Mudat village in Mahuva taluka before selling the produce to traders at markets. While Zharakhiya was not at the shed when the fire broke out, he later told fire brigade officials and police that he had left his four daughters — Darshana (10), Mansi (9), Tejasvi (8) and Rajashvi (7) — there before leaving for Surat city.
Zharakhiya, according to investigators, also told police that the four girls lived with their grandparents at their native village in Amreli since his wife Shobha died six years ago, and his younger brother had brought them to Surat recently. He also gave a photograph of the four girls to the police.
Police and forensic officials, however, suspected Zharakhiya as they found only five bones from the site. Police later interrogated Zharakhiya who revealed that he has two sons and no daughter, and the photograph he gave to the police was of four minor girls from a studio in Kamrej. He also said that his wife is alive and stays with their sons in Kamrej.
According to police, Zharakhiya had taken Rs 1 crore from his friends on interest and invested the money in property business, but lost it. To repay the debt, he hatched the plan and also bought life insurance policies worth Rs 65 lakh in the name of the four girls by furnishing forged documents. “Zharakhiya acted smart and he thought that he would misguide the police and get the insurance claim,” said Mahuva police SI Praveen Pateliya.