Ex-MP’s daughter-in-law, grandsons die in mysterious fire

Hyderabad: Former Congress MP Siricilla Rajaiah’s daughter-in-law and three grandsons died in a fire at his house in Andhra Pradesh’s Warangal town early Wednesday, police said. Rajaiah immediately withdrew from the Warangal Lok Sabha by-election even as the dead woman’s family said it suspected foul play.

S. Sarika and her all three sons – Abhinav, 7, Ayan, 3, and Sriyan, 3 – were burnt to death in the fire that broke out in her bedroom on the first floor of the house.

Fire brigade officials extinguished the fire around 6.30 a.m. It was not clear what caused the fire. Police said they were investigating.

Rajaiah was the Congress candidate for the Lok Sabha by-election from Warangal but opted out of the contest after the tragedy.

“We found four bodies in the house. We are investigating. It’s premature to say anything now,” Warangal Police Commissioner G. Sudheer Babu told the media.

Police questioned Rajaiah and his son S. Anil Kumar to find out what may have happened on Monday night and whether they were present in the house.

Sarika’s parents, who live in Nizamabad district, said they doubted if it was an accidental fire. They also ruled out suicide.

Women’s groups alleged that Sarika and the children were murdered and demanded action against the former MP and his son.

Sarika had in 2013 lodged a complaint with police that her husband was mentally torturing her seeking more dowry.

Last year, she staged a sit-in in front of Rajaiah’s house, seeking justice for her and her children. She also complained that Anil was having an extra-marital affair.

Anil and Sarika met while studying engineering in Hyderabad and went for a registered marriage in 2002. A traditional marriage ceremony was later held with the consent of both the families in 2006.

The Congress last week named Rajaiah as its candidate for the November 21 by-election from the Warangal Lok Sabha seat.

He was elected from Warangal in 2009 but lost last year.

Rajaiah filed nomination papers for the by-election on Monday but told the party leadership after the tragedy that he was opting out of the race.

The Congress is likely to field former central minister Sarve Satyanarayana or former state minister Vijayarama Rao from Warangal.

The by-election was necessitated by the resignation of Telangana Rashtra Samithi’s Kadiam Srihari after he became the deputy chief minister of the state.