Oak Forest man gets life in prison for arson that killed family members

SHARE Oak Forest man gets life in prison for arson that killed family members
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Subhash Chander

A southwest suburban man has been sentenced to life in prison for starting a fire outside an apartment building thatkilled his pregnant daughter, son-in-law and toddler grandsonin 2007 because he disapproved of his daughter’s marriage.

Subhash Chander, 64, was convicted in March of three counts of first-degree murder for the arson that happened Dec. 29, 2007, at his daughter’s apartment in the 15000 block of South LeClaire in Oak Forest, according to a statement fromthe Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

The blaze destroyed most of the building, and after crews extinguished it, Chander’s 22-year-old pregnant daughter, Monika Rani; her 30-year-old husband, Rajesh Arora; and their 3-year-old son, Vansh Kumar, were all found dead, prosecutors said.

When Chander, an Indian immigrant, was charge, prosecutors said he ignited the blaze because his daughter had defied him by marrying a man of a lower caste, the Sun-Times previously reported. In Hindu Indian culture, it’s common for families to seek to match a child with someone of the same caste or social status.

Witnesses saw Chander with a plastic container of gasoline on the first floor of the building shortly after the fire started, and a gas station attendant identified him as the customer who bought gas about two hours before the blaze, prosecutors said.

Judge Luciano Panici sentenced Chander to life in prison during a hearing Thursday at the Cook County courthouse in Markham.

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