Mumbai: A special women's court on Thursday awarded capital punishment to 26-year-old Ankur Lal Panwar in the 2013 acid attack case on nurse Preeti Rathi, who died of multiple organ failure after suffering deep internal injuries.
Special Judge AS Shende pronounced the death penalty for the convict, a day after prosecution sought the exemplary punishment for him saying acid attack is a crime against women and Panwar did not commit the crime on the spur of the moment but it was a pre-planned attack.
On Wednesday, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam termed the case fit for death sentence, saying that it falls in the "rarest of the rare" category while Panwar's lawyer Apeksha Vora had pleaded leniency for her client, citing his young age and stating that he was the sole breadwinner for his family.
"If he is given a lesser punishment and if he is released after completing the sentence, other girls would not be safe," Nikam had submitted. Objective of the sentencing is to deter criminals and like-minded persons from committing such crime, he had said, contending that "the court would be failing in its duty if a just and appropriate punishment was not awarded."
Panwar is accused of murdering Delhi native Preeti Rathi in 2013 by throwing acid at her after he allegedly grew jealous of the nurse who had come to Mumbai to pursue a career in a defence hospital here.
On Tuesday, Panwar was convicted under Sections 302 (murder) and 326 B (Voluntarily throwing acid) of the IPC. Rathi, then 24, had died of multiple organ failure after she developed severe health issues on account of swallowing the acid which Panwar threw on her on 2 May, 2013 at the Bandra Railway Station.
Rathi, who had come to Mumbai joined as nurse in a defence hospital, succumbed to injuries at a private hospital here on 1 June, 2013. Panwar was Rathi's neighbour in Bhakra Beas Management Board Colony in Delhi.
Mumbai Police filed a 1332-page charge sheet against Panwar, a hotel management graduate in April 2014 and also submitted a list of 98 witnesses after he was arrested from the national capital in January. As per the charge sheet, Panwar, threw concentrated sulfuric acid on Preeti at Bandra station, as he envied her career growth.