A group of Indian television journalists gave a man matches and diesel to help him commit suicide in order to get dramatic footage which was later broadcast on the news, police said on Thursday.
The man died from severe burns to his body in hospital in Gaya town in the eastern state of Bihar on Aug. 15, India's Independence Day.
Footage of the man, screaming and writhing in pain as he ran with his back on fire, was aired on several television channels. Police identified the man as Manoj Mishra.
"We have seized footage clearly showing a group of journalists handing over matches and some inflammable substance -- which we later verified to be diesel -- to the victim," acting Gaya police chief P.K. Sinha told Reuters by telephone.
Mishra, who worked as a delivery man, was upset over what he said was a large sum of money owed to him by a state-run dairy farm whose milk he transported to customers, police said.
"We have prepared charges for abetment against the journalists. There were five to six of them who were conspirators in this suicide attempt which is a criminal offence," Sinha said, adding that arrests were expected shortly.
No help offered, police say
The TV crews left the scene without aiding Mishra who suffered burns to over 70 percent of his body, Sinha said.
Indian law says a person can be sentenced to up to 10 years imprisonment for aiding a suicide.
There has been an explosion of private TV news channels in recent years in India, each competing aggressively for exclusive stories and dramatic footage.
These channels often show graphic footage of victims of bomb blasts and other violence as well as partly blurred pictures of sex acts while exposing scandals as part of sting operations.
They also have shown marital spats between husbands and wives or between wives and their husbands' mistresses.