Idukki: Hamid, the elderly man who killed his son and three other members of the family by setting their house here on fire, has been arrested .
The accused committed the act allegedly owing to a property dispute, in the small hours of Saturday, the police informed. The accused's son, daughter-in-law and two school-going granddaughters, sleeping inside the house, were charred to death, they said.
The deceased are Shibu(45), Sheeba (40), Mehrin (16) and Asna(13).
Hamid (79) hurled tiny bottles filled with petrol inside the house through the window after locking the house from outside. Later, he was taken into custody. Though one of the family members woke up noticing the fire and called for help, the neighbours could not rescue them as the massive blaze quickly engulfed all the four. One of the neighbours said Hamid was seen throwing a bottle filled with petrol into the house.
"It was a well-planned murder as Hamid stocked petrol in at least five bottles to commit the crime and even emptied the water tank in the house to check any possible efforts to douse the flames. He even removed the bucket and rope to prevent neighbours from fetching water from the well for the rescue mission," a senior police officer said. The accused also disconnected the drinking water supply to the house.
The scene inside the house was heart-breaking as the charred bodies of the father and the youngest daughter were found hugging each other tightly, he said.
"It was difficult for us to separate the bodies for further inquest procedures."
During the interrogation, Hamid admitted that he committed the gruesome crime over a family property with his son. He was remanded to custody.
Mehrin was a Plus-One student at Thodupuzha Girls Higher Secondary School and Asna studied in Grade 8 at the Sanjo CMI Public School, Koduvely.
Shibu's mother Fathima had passed away earlier.
A ten-member-team under Idukku Narcotics DySP AG Lal is in charge of the investigation.
(With PTI inputs.)