Mumbai Local

2013 acid attack: Real culprit is out on bail, claims defence

The three-year-old case of acid attack on Preeti Rathi may have led to a conviction on Tuesday, but the case is far from over. The defence lawyer has said that the man who had thrown acid on Ms. Rathi on May 2, 2013, had been arrested and released on bail the same year.

The Panwar family will be appealing against their eldest son’s conviction, and will also be pleading for the investigation to be shifted to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The defence said the perpetrator was Pawan Kumar Gehlot, 23, a BTech student, who stayed in Ms Rathi’s neighbourhood at Narela, New Delhi. He was arrested on May 9, 2013 from his home town Rohtak, Haryana. Ankur Panwar, who on Tuesday was convicted for committing murder, was a resident of the same neighbourhood in New Delhi. He was arrested on January 9, 2014 by the police. Mr Panwar, a hotel management graduate, was working as a chef in a premium hotel in the city.

Gehlot, in his confession to the special crime branch, had said he threw acid on Ms. Rathi because she rejected his marriage proposal.

He was charged under Sections 307 (attempt to murder), 326 (B) (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by use of acid, etc) of the Indian Penal Code. His bail was rejected by the City Civil and Sessions Court, but was granted by the High Court in August 2013.

The description of the masked perpetrator was given by the maternal uncle who was travelling with Ms. Rathi. The police had prepared the sketch of the culprit with the help of experts. As Ms. Rathi’s vocal chords were damaged in the attack, she was unable to speak, but wrote “Pawan Kumar” when asked to identify the sketch in the hospital.

Advocate Apeksha Vora, appearing for Panwar said, “Not only is my client falsely implicated, the acid also has not been proved to be sulphuric acid. If it was sulphuric the body part would have turned black but here it had turned yellow.”

Panwar’s family pleaded his innocence and said he was their sole breadwinner.

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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 12:37:13 AM |

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