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Acid attack case: Death row convict says had no intention of killing victim

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Press Trust of India Mumbai
The counsel for Ankur Panwar, the death row convict in the Preeti Rathi acid attack case, told the Bombay High Court Wednesday that his client

had no intention of killing her.
Panwar said he threw a bottle containing sulphuric acid at Rathi here in May 2013 merely to injure her.
His counsel Trideep Pais told a bench of Justices B P Dharmadhikari and P D Naik that though Panwar knew his action was likely to cause grave injury to Rathi and leave her face disfigured, he had "no intention of causing her death".
Therefore, Panwar should have been charged under section 304 II of the IPC for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, and not section 302 (murder) of the IPC under which he was convicted and sentenced to death.
Section 304 II provides for the maximum punishment of life imprisonment for an act that "is done with the knowledge that it is likely to cause death, but without any intention to cause death, or to cause such bodily injury as is likely to cause death".
Rathi, a 23-year-old nurse from Delhi who was to join a hospital of the Indian Navy in the city, was attacked with acid by Panwar, her neighbour in the national capital.
On May 2, 2013, as Rathi got off the train from Delhi at Bandra Terminus here, the convict Panwar flung a bottle containing sulphuric acid on her face.
Rathi lost her vision and sustained major injuries due to the attack.
She spent a month in various hospitals, and on June 1, succumbed to multiple organ failure at the Bombay Hospital in the city.
Panwar, 25, was awarded the death penalty by a special court here in 2016.
This was the first instance of death penalty being awarded by a court in the country in a case of acid attack.
As per police, Panwar was jealous of Rathi's success and was unhappy after she had turned down his marriage proposal.
The HC is hearing a confirmation petition filed by the Maharashtra government seeking ratification of the special court order convicting Panwar and awarding him the death penalty.
Advocate Pais had earlier argued that Panwar had been framed in the case.
He had said there was no forensic evidence linking Panwar to the crime and that the prosecution had produced tailor-made witness statements to prove its case.
He said Wednesday that even if one were to assume that Panwar was the person who flung acid at Rathi, the evidence on record proved he had no intention of killing her.

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First Published: Mar 27 2019 | 8:45 PM IST

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