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Acid attack: 'Jealous' neighbour held for Preeti Rathi's death

Last updated on: January 17, 2014 21:59 IST

Nine months after the acid attack on a Delhi resident in Mumbai that claimed her life, her neighbour was arrested for allegedly carrying out the crime as he was jealous of her career growth, the police said on Friday.

Accused Ankur Panwar, 23, a hotel management graduate, was a neighbour of victim Preeti Rathi and resided in Bhakra Beas Management Board Colony, was arrested fromlice said on Friday.

Delhi. He confessed to the crime saying that he hated for her career growth, Joint Police Commissioner (Crime) Himanshu Roy said.

"The reason for this extreme step the accused cited was that his parents often mocked him for not getting a job despite having completed his course and praised his neighbour Rathi saying she had got hold of a good job in Indian Navy.

Because of this, Ankur was very jealous of her and had been looking for an opportunity to severely harm her in a bid to deface her so that her career gets destroyed," Roy explained.

On May 2, 2013, acid was flung on Rathi when she got down from Garib Rath Express at the Bandra Railway Terminus in Mumbai. She was supposed to join Colaba Naval hospital INS Ashwini as a staff nurse. Having suffered severe damage to her lungs, she succumbed to the injuries on June 1 at the BombayHospital.

The government railway police had probed the case and arrested a man called Pawan Gehlot on suspicion, but could not prove his links in the case, after which he was discharged from the case.

Hearing a plea on alleged sluggish pace of probe in the case by Railway Police, Bombay high court transferred the case to Mumbai police crime branch, which took over the investigation in December last year. A special team had been formed to probe the case.

"Eight months after the incident, we took over the case. There were no clues in the case. After thoroughly scrutinising of loads of technical data, analysing them and putting painstaking efforts, my team zeroed in on Ankur," Roy said.

Nine months after the acid attack on a Delhi resident in Mumbai that claimed her life, her neighbour was arrested for allegedly carrying out the crime as he was jealous of her career growth, police said on Friday.

Accused Ankur Panwar, 23, a hotel management graduate, was a neighbour of victim Preeti Rathi and resided in Bhakra Beas Management Board Colony, was arrested from

Delhi. He confessed to the crime saying that he hated for her career growth, Joint Police Commissioner (Crime) Himanshu Roy said.

"The reason for this extreme step the accused cited was that his parents often mocked him for not getting a job despite having completed his course and praised his neighbour Rathi saying she had got hold of a good job in Indian Navy. Because of this, Ankur was very jealous of her and had been looking for an opportunity to severely harm her in a bid to deface her so that her career gets destroyed," Roy explained.

On May 2, 2013, acid was flung on Rathi when she got down from Garib Rath Express at the Bandra Railway Terminus in Mumbai. She was supposed to join Colaba Naval hospital INS Ashwini as a staff nurse. Having suffered severe damage to her lungs, she succumbed to the injuries on June 1 at the BombayHospital.

The government railway police had probed the case and arrested a man called Pawan Gehlot on suspicion, but could not prove his links in the case, after which he was discharged from the case.

Hearing a plea on alleged sluggish pace of probe in the case by Railway Police, Bombay high court transferred the case to Mumbai police crime branch, which took over the investigation in December last year. A special team had been formed to probe the case.

"Eight months after the incident, we took over the case. There were no clues in the case. After thoroughly scrutinising of loads of technical data, analysing them and putting painstaking efforts, my team zeroed in on Ankur," Roy said.

The accused was apprehended from Delhi and during the probe, he admitted to the crime and explained that he got concentrated sulfuric acid from one of the storage rooms at a colony where Delhi Electricity Supply personnel reside, the police said.

"The accused completed his graduation in a Hotel Management Course from Bhubaneswar. He had been jobless even after his graduation. His parents were not happy with him and used to compare him with Rathi. His parents, who also know Rathi family very well, pulled him up many a times because of which he was annoyed with her," Roy added.

When he learnt that Rathi got a job in navy and her entire family was shifting to Mumbai, he decided to attack her and waited for an opportunity, the Indian Police Service Service officer said. The accused procured the acid in a bottle on April 2; he boarded the train in which Rathi's family booked the tickets.

The accused, who was travelling in the train without ticket, was waiting to strike her during the journey but in vain, Roy said. As the accused got an opportunity upon arriving at Bandra station which is the last stop, he flung the acid on her face after covering his face with a handkerchief. Then he escaped from the scene before sitting in the same train and returned to Delhi.

"Ankur did not go to his residence. He told his parents that he was going to Haridwar for job interview, but he went to his cousin's residence in Gurgaon. We picked up holes in his version after which he started telling us the facts. He then worked in Goa, Pondicherry and presently he is employed with a hotel in Ahmedabad."

The accused sustained burn injuries on his hands because of the acid, Roy said, adding the crime branch would seek death penalty to him in the court. 

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