A court has sentenced 25-year-old Ankur Panwar to death for throwing acid at Preeti Rathi three years ago. The decision comes just one day after the accused was convicted.
The crime took place outside a Mumbai railway station in May 2013. At the time, Preeti just arrived in the city, joining the Indian Navy as a nurse.
Relying on witness accounts, the court concluded Ankur’s motive as resulting from Preeti’s rejection of his marriage proposal. He was seen buying two kilograms of sulphuric acid, The Times of India reported.
Rathi suffered severe burns to her lungs and eyes in the attack on May 2, 2013, and died a month later or organ failure.
Preeti’s father, Amar Singh Rathi, appeared before the court for the verdict:
“I want him [Ankur] to receive the death penalty. I saw my child dying before my eyes. My daughter suffered until the end and I want him to suffer in the same manner too. She had done no wrong. A message has to be sent to the society.”
In the end, justice prevailed. Public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told AFP (via South China Morning Post):
“The court has awarded the death penalty to Ankur Panwar. I convinced the court that the acid attack belonged to the rarest of rare cases. This is a landmark judgement for such crimes. This is the first time that such a judgement has been passed for an acid attack-related case against a woman.”
Ankur was convicted under Sections 302 (murder) and 326 B (attempted acid-throwing) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). He was acquitted under Section 326A (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by use of acid, etc), Mid-Day noted.
Ankur is set to meet his death by hanging, but he’s determined to make an appeal:
“I am not afraid of the death sentence because I know the facts of the case. I had faith in the judiciary and did not expect this to happen. We will file an appeal in the high court.”