Ankur Panwar, convicted of murdering Preeti Rathi by throwing acid on her, had lied to the police, claiming he had nothing to do with the attack when he was picked up by the Mumbai crime branch for questioning.
Inspector Ashok Khot from the crime branch said it were the lies, evasive behaviour and burn injuries — which Panwar tried to hide from the police — that helped them nail him. The case was initially investigated by the Government Railway Police (GRP). Disappointed with the initial investigation, the Rathis moved Bombay high court and asked the case be investigated by the CBI. However, the case was handed over to the Mumbai crime branch on December 4, 2013.
The crime branch formed a 12-member special investigation team (SIT), which camped in Delhi for more than 40 days and prepared a family tree of the Rathis and a list of their neighbours, acquaintances and other possible suspects. Later, they turned their attention to the list of suspects named by Rathi, which included Panwar and Gahalon.
“We interrogated Panwar and found he had no answers to many of the questions asked. His family told us that he was not in [Delhi] at the time of incident and that he had left to look for a job. But there was no proof of this. When we verified his claims, we found that he was lying. He also had burn injuries which he tried to hide, and when we questioned him about it, he fumbled,” Khot said.
He said the police then checked the CCTV footage from Bandra terminus and Panwar’s call records before arresting him on January 17, 2014. Panwar even threw away the SIM card he was using to fool the police.