India doctor arrested for setting fire to 25 cars

Image source, MB Gowda
Image caption,
The 37-year-old was caught by a security guard

A doctor has been arrested for allegedly setting fire to 25 cars over a period of several days in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.

Police have seized CCTV footage of Dr Ameet Gaikwad, in which he is seen wearing a helmet and entering various buildings.

It is not clear if this was a kind of fetish, or if it was a case of mental illness, police told the BBC.

Thirteen cars belonged to doctors with no apparent connection to Dr Gaikwad.

These doctors worked in another district to Dr Gaikwad, who is an assistant professor of pathology, police said. They added that there have been no reports of rivalry or tension.

"Professionally, he has been described as a good teacher," an officer told BBC Hindi. "Everybody in the office where he worked are shocked."

The 37-year-old was caught by a security guard on 17 January. After his arrest, police said that he had allegedly burned 10 cars already on the same day.

Additionally, they said they suspected that he had set fire to another 15 cars in separate incidents across two districts in the state. Police believe that these incidents took place on 14 and 15 January.

According to police, Dr Gaikwad would start the fires by using a piece of camphor that he would set alight near the air vents of the vehicle. This allowed the fire to travel through the internal wires and reach the car's engine, causing damage.

He has been charged with arson and is being questioned in custody, police said.