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A man killed his 78-year-old wife over a property dispute by setting her on fire at their house in Kerala's Kottayam district on Monday. The incident took place at Charuvelil village when Varghese Mathew, 81, allegedly picked an argument over a property dispute with his wife Shoshamma which triggered him to do this heinous crime.

The victim suffered 80 per cent burns and was taken to Kottayam Medical College Hospital, but succumbed to her injuries. Varghese also suffered 20 per cent burns and is being treated at the hospital.

The police have registered a murder case against Varghese and taken him into custody. The police had recorded the victim's statement at the hospital. She had said that Varghese came near her with a rag-torch and set her saree on fire. The forensic experts, who examined the crime scene, detected the presence of kerosene, reports TOI.

According to reports, there was a long-standing dispute between the couple over their property. Varghese, who was working in Pune, had bought land in Manimala in his wife's name and constructed a house.

The couple has three children - two sons and a daughter. Shoshamma had given a portion of the property to her daughter without her husband's knowledge which was the root cause of the problem.

In March, the local police had also intervened in the dispute after the situation worsened between the couple. After that, Varghese went to live with his sons and his wife lived with their daughter. He recently returned to Kerala after which his wife also came back home.