Heartbreaking! Her life, her dreams and ours were cut short, says acid attack victim Preeti Rathi's father
In the 2013 acid attack case on nurse Preeti Rathi, Mumbai Police filed a 1332-page charge sheet against Ankur Lal Panwar.
Mumbai: Even as a special women's court here on Thursday awarded capital punishment to 26-year-old Ankur Lal Panwar in the 2013 acid attack case on nurse Preeti Rathi, her father lamented that his daughter's dreams were cut short.
Panwar is accused of murdering Delhi native Preeti in 2013 by throwing acid at her after he allegedly grew jealous of the nurse who had come to Mumbai to pursue a career in a defence hospital.
Amar Singh was quoted as saying by The Indian Express, "She had worked hard in her nursing course and then in getting selected for a job with the Ministry of Defence. We were very proud of her and had hoped it would bring about a change in our lives too."
“Her life, her dreams and ours, were all cut short,” he added.
He had accompanied Preeti to Mumbai on the day of the incident.
Meanwhile, Preeti’s younger brother Hitesh said, “We feel she will rest in peace only after he has been given the death penalty.”
Singh has retired as a foreman in Bhakra Beas Management Board and the family is now said to be surviving on Preeti's father's pension.
Special Judge AS Shende today pronounced the death penalty for the convict, a day after prosecution sought the exemplary punishment for him saying acid attack is a crime against women and Panwar did not commit the crime on the spur of the moment but it was a pre-planned attack.
Yesterday, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam had termed the case fit for death sentence, saying that it falls in the "rarest of the rare" category while Panwar's lawyer Apeksha Vora had pleaded leniency for her client, citing his young age and stating that he was the sole breadwinner for his family.
"If he is given a lesser punishment and if he is released after completing the sentence, other girls would not be safe," Nikam had submitted, as per PTI.
Objective of the sentencing is to deter criminals and like-minded persons from committing such crime, he had said, contending that "the court would be failing in its duty if a just and appropriate punishment was not awarded."
On Tuesday, Panwar was convicted under Sections 302 (murder) and 326 B (Voluntarily throwing acid) of the IPC.
Rathi, then 24, had died of multiple organ failure after she developed severe health issues on account of swallowing the acid which Panwar threw on her on May 2, 2013 at the Bandra Railway Station here.
Mumbai Police filed a 1332-page charge sheet against Panwar, a hotel management graduate in April 2014 and also submitted a list of 98 witnesses after he was arrested from the national capital in January.
As per the charge sheet, Panwar, threw concentrated sulfuric acid on Preeti at Bandra station here, as he envied her career growth.
Panwar was Rathi's neighbour in Bhakra Beas Management Board Colony in Delhi.
According to police, Rathi had secured a nursing job with the Ministry of Defence at the INHS Ashvini Hospital. Also, Panwar's parents often told him about his failure to get a job despite completing his education and would praise Preeti, who landed the job at the Navy hospital in Colaba.
Panwar wanted to disfigure her face so as to destroy her career. He procured the acid on April 2 and boarded the same train taken by Preeti and her family to Mumbai.
After his conviction two days ago, Panwar's mother Kailash had demanded a CBI inquiry claiming her son had been falsely implicated while Rathi's father Amar Singh Rathi had sought death penalty for the accused.
Panwar allegedly flung the bottle of acid on Preeti when she got down from Garib Rath Express at the Bandra Terminus and took the same train back home.
(With Agency inputs)