25-year-old Ankur Panwar was sentenced to death by a special women’s court on Thursday for murdering a Delhi resident Preeti Rathi by hurling acid on her at Bandra Terminus in 2013. The sentencing comes a day after the accused was convicted by Judge AS Shende.
Panwar had attacked Rathi on May 2, 2013. She had just come to Mumbai to join the Indian Navy as a nurse. The defence lawyer had argued against the murder charge, saying Rathi had died a month later because of medical negligence. However, public prosecutor Nikam had argued that she had succumbed to the wounds she sustained in the acid attack and died because of multiple organ failure. Panwar’s call records proved he had travelled in the same train as Rathi and was at the station to attack.
On the quantum of sentence, both the prosecution and defence presented their arguments. While Nikam sought the death sentence on the ground that the case fell in the rarest of rare category, the defence advocate Apeksha Vora tried to get the minimum sentence of life, citing Panwar’s age, family background and lack of previous antecedents.
Panwar was arrested by the Mumbai Crime Branch on January 17, 2014. According to reports, Panwar had assaulted Rathi, his neighbour, after she refused to marry him. However, an NDTV report said he had acted out of jealousy as his family had taunted him for being unemployed while praising her achievements. The police had said Panwar wanted to “deface Rathi so she would never get a job again”.