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US: Indian-origin woman sets husband on fire

April 21, 2012 14:46 IST

A 29-year-old Indian-American woman has been arrested after she allegedly set her husband on fire and locked him in a bathroom while he suffered third-degree burns.

Shriya Biman Patel is in custody on $1 million bond and booked into the Travis County Jail in Austin, on charges of first-degree felony aggravated assault and arson.

The victims, whose name was not released, remained in critical condition at Brooke Army Medical Centre in San Antonio.

Police and fire officials launched the investigation shortly after they were called out to the Camden apartments on Metric Avenue near Parmer Lane in North Austin.

The couple has been married for a year and Shriya had only been in the United States for seven days after coming from India.

Investigators said Shriya was inside the apartment when the incident happened.

Neighbour Rathan Rajendren said he heard what sounded like an argument next door right before the incident.

He said the victim told police his wife was giving him a massage when she poured gasoline all over him and set him on fire.

However, the wife told police her husband doused himself in gasoline before lighting himself on fire.

Meanwhile, the husband was taken by helicopter to Brooke with severe injuries.

On Friday, officials said he is in stable condition.

Investigators say the premeditation used by Patel was unlike any case they can remember.

"In 17 years at the fire department, I have seen burns like this but nothing that was premeditated like this," said Captain Andy Reardon with Austin Fire Department.

Reardon says they found evidence that Shriya Patel started the fire and also evidence that suggest she tried to keep anyone from stopping it.

The smoke alarm was disabled and sprinkler heads were covered with plastic bags.

Wal-Mart surveillance video shows Shriya Patel buying the items used in the attack.

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