In a first such conviction in an acid attack case in Chandigarh, additional district and sessions judge Preeti Sahni on Saturday awarded seven-year imprisonment to two youths after holding them guilty of attempt to murder.
"It is the most heinous crime. The accused, Amandeep Singh and Shyam, deserve no leniency," read the order. A fine of Rs. 7,000 each was also slapped on the two.
Turning down the plea of the defence counsel urging the court to take a lenient view, the court said, "The heinous act has left a permanent pain for the victim. Their act has rendered the future prospects of the victim bleak."
Amandeep, 23, and Shyam, 21, hailing from Fatehgarh Sahib, had been booked on the complaint of 19-year-old Neha Thakur, on charges of attempt to murder in November 2011.
"This is the first-of-its-kind conviction where the accused have been convicted in an acid attack case. Despite the eyewitness turning hostile we could prove the case against the accused. The victim had identified the accused in the court and there was evidence of one of them nursing a grudge against her. The co-accused had suffered burns in the attack," public prosecutor Atul Sethi told HT.
According to the prosecution, on November 27, 2011, Neha, working as a sales service associate in a mall at Industrial Area, Phase 1, was seriously injured in an acid attack near the Sector-28 traffic lights.
Neha, a resident of Burail, was walking along with colleague Nirmal when the two convicts riding a motorcycle threw acid on them. Amandeep, who was riding the pillion, threw the acid he was carrying in a steel glass while co-accused Shyam was driving the motorcycle.
While Nirmal had a narrow escape, Neha suffered serious burns and was admitted to Government Medial College and Hospital, Sector 32. Neha suffered burns on the right side of her face and body.
The incident occurred at 9.20pm when Neha and her colleague were returning home after work. The police maintained that usually their work got over by 8.30pm, but it being a Sunday, they got late due to the rush at the mall.
According to the prosecution, the girls, who were waiting for their families to pick them up, started walking and when they reached the Sector 28 lights, the two convicts threw acid on them and fled.
According to the police, Neha had lodged a complaint against Amandeep, her former colleague, of harassing her by calling her up late at night. Following regular complaints against him, Amandeep was sacked following which he nursed a grudge against Neha.
What led to conviction
Neha testified against the accused and identified them
Neha's statement was corroborated by other witnesses who had claimed that Amandeep had threatened her of dire consequences after he was sacked
Police had recovered the motorcycle from Amandeep
Medical examination of co-accused Shyam pointed out to burns on hand
Nov 27, 2011: Neha suffers burns as the two accused throw acid on her
Apr 17, 2012: Accused Amandeep arrested
Jun 4, 2012: Co-accused Shyam arrested
Apr 1, 2013: UT administrator tells authorities to pay Rs. 2 lakh in compensation to the victim
July 20: Both the accused convicted and awarded seven-year jail