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Civil servant arrested for burning cook to death

December 27, 1996

CHANDIGARH, India (AP) _ Police have arrested a top civil servant and charged him with homicide for ordering his cook to be set on fire as punishment for taking a few days off without permission.

Amit Jha, a district administrator in the northern state of Haryana, was arrested on Wednesday hours after his cook, Matwar Singh, died from burns he suffered on December 12.

Jha, who was released on bail Thursday, has denied the allegations.

Government workers in Haryana have staged noisy protests over the incident. Singh was employed by the government, but worked as a cook in his boss’s home.

Police said Singh had told physicians that other members of Jha’s household staff were ordered to set him on fire because he had taken five days’ unauthorized leave.

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