25-year-old Preeti Rathi who was attacked with acid in Bandra Terminus last month, succumbed to her injuries at Bombay Hospital on Saturday. With the victim’s death, her heart-broken family fears that the investigation will go cold.
Rathis family is still asserting that 24-year-old Pawankumar Gehalon, who was arrested after the attack, has no connection to the crime. “We are yet to establish his role in the case. He has been remanded to judicial custody and hence we cannot interrogate him. After conducting an inquest panchnama, we would again continue with the probe,” said S Shaikh, senior inspector of the railway crime branch.
“With the girl’s death, the police should at least now trace the real culprit. It is a prestige issue for the Mumbai’s railway police. I fear that with Rathi family leaving for their native, the probe in the case will cease to move ahead,” Vinodkumar Dahiya, uncle of the deceased, told HT.
Rathi was targeted on Bandra Terminus on May 2, minutes after she alighted from Garib Rath Express. The Bandra GRP which initiated an investigation into the case has made no headway despite roping in the railway crime branch for the investigation.
A fortnight after the attack, the police detained two persons, including Gehalon, in connection with the incident. However, Gehalon’s tower location at the time of incident revealed that he was at Rohtak.
The CCTV footage of Bandra Terminus was unclear and hence the officials couldn’t get a clear image of the attacker, who was captured fleeing from the station following the attack. Dissatisfied with the probe in the case, the Rathi family had submitted a letter to government and GRP officials, following which the case was handed over to the railway crime branch.
K Sankaranarayanan, state governor who had been following the progress of Rathi’s health had this to say about her death “The demise of Preeti Rathi, has filled my heart with a sense of grief and anguish. Her death is a blow as much for her near and dear ones as for all the right thinking people. I convey my heartfelt condolences to her parents and pray God to give them strength to bear this loss.”