The Mumbai government railway police (GRP) on Thursday arrested a 24-year-old youth in Delhi and detained another person in connection with the acid attack on Preeti Rathi, 25, at Bandra Terminus on May 2.
The police arrested Pawan Gahalon after they learnt that Preeti had allegedly rejected his marriage proposal and also because the victim had spotted him at Delhi railway station minutes before she boarded a train for Mumbai.
The GRP also detained another person and he too is being brought to Mumbai. Though the police are yet to ascertain his role, the GRP wants to question him on whether he provided Gahalon technical assistance on the chemical.
Gahalon, a native of Rohtak, was arrested after he kept in touch with the victim’s sister following the attack. “Gahalon would enquire about Rathi’s health from one of her sisters, which was suspicious. Also, his face resembled that of the person spotted in the CCTV footage,” said Vijay Dhopavkar, senior inspector of Bandra GRP.
Two GRP teams had been camping in Delhi where Rathis’ neighbours told them that Gahalon had proposed marriage to Preeti and had met her family in this regard, but she had refused. However, the Rathis have denied this.
Police said the detained person is a former boyfriend of Preeti’s close friend and is a molecular chemistry expert. After she had broken up with him and married someone else, he had assaulted her and family members, the probe has revealed. The investigators are questioning him to learn if he had provided technical details on the chemical or if he had played a larger role as he is known to Gahalon, the GRP said.
“The GRP teams had to face stiff resistance from the locals and the victim’s family is not revealing much,” said Prabhat Kumar, commissioner of police, GRP. Police said the local panchayats had stated they would sort out the issue themselves, and had resisted when the police tried to take the duo into custody.
Meanwhile, the GRP commissioner has shot letters to the general managers of central and Western Railway seeking better CCTV cameras at city stations.