The Bombay High Court on June 12, 2019, has commuted the death sentence awarded to the murderer of Preeti Rathi, who had been attacked with acid in 2013, to life imprisonment.
A Division Bench comprising of Justices B.P. Dharmadhikari and Prakash D. Naik passed the order while hearing an appeal filed by Ankur Panwar against his conviction.
The Bench, while reading out the operative part of the judgment said, “The conviction under IPC Sections 302 (murder) and 326 B (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by use of acid) is upheld. The death sentence is commuted to life imprisonment.”
In 2016, a special women’s court had sentenced Panwar to death. This was the first such case where an accused convicted for acid attack was given death penalty.
Panwar had thrown sulphuric acid at 23-year-old Rathi at the Bandra railway station on May 2, 2013. She had come to join Naval hospital Ashwini in Mumbai and had been selected to work in a nursing position as a Lieutenant.
Rathi had sustained grievious injuries and had lost her vision. She spent a month in hospital and died of multiple organ failure. Panwar was arrested from his home in Delhi’s Narela in January 2014 by the Mumbai Police Crime Branch.
While arguing against the death sentence, the learned counsel appearing for Panwar said that he had no intention of murdering Rathi but only wanted to injure her. According to investigators, Panwar had proposed to Rathi but her refusal had angered him.
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