Four days after a jilted lover and his friend were arrested for throwing acid on a 17-year-old Class-12 girl student, police have arrested the Ajnala shopkeeper who allegedly sold the poison to the accused. More than 650 litre of acid stored in shop godown has also been seized.
"The shopkeeper has been identified as Surinder Kumar, a resident of Ajnala in Amritsar. He did not have any licence for storing acid at his shop, Mahajan Dairy," said Gurdaspur SSP Gurpreet Singh Toor.
Under Supreme Court guidelines, any sale of acid is to be reported to the SHO of the area police station and the civil magistrate.
A case under Section 6 of the Poison Act, 1919, read with the Punjab Poison and Sale Rules, 2014, has been registered at Kahnuwan police station against Kumar, who has been remanded in two-day police custody.
When questioned on the nature of the acid, Kahnuwan DSP Harjinder Singh said, "The sample of the recovered acid would be sent to a chemical laboratory to know its nature."
SSP Toor told HT that the police planned to crack down on shops that sold acid illegally in Gurdaspur.
The victim, Rajwinder Kaur, suffered 20% burns after the accused Manpreet Singh, 24, and his accomplice Ajit Singh, 22, residents of Bhaowali village in Ajnala Tehsil of Amritsar, allegedly threw acid on her from a glass bottle when she was on her way home after taking an exam at Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Kahnuwan, 16 km from Gurdaspur.
Manpreet, the main accused, was reportedly upset, as the girl has rejected his advances. The victim, a state-level player of baseball and hammer throw, is being treated at a private hospital in Amritsar. Her face was relatively unscathed as she hid it behind the clipboard she was carrying.
The accused were arrested on Thursday and booked under Sections 326-A (punishment for throwing acid), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 34 (furtherance of common intention) of the IPC at the Kahnuwan police station.
The cost of the victim's treatment is being taken care of by the state government. State education minister Dr Daljeet Singh Cheema has directed the Punjab School Education Board to make special arrangements to allow to her to take her remaining exams.
Gurdaspur district education officer (secondary) Amardeep Singh Saini, who visited the hospital where the girl is being treated, said doctors had told him that the girl was responding to treatment and had been shifted to a room from the Intensive Care Unit on Saturday. "It will take 10 days before the wounds show signs of healing," he added.
SEQUENCE OF EVENTS
March 4: Manpreet Singh, 24, and his accomplice Ajit Singh, 22, residents of Bhaowali village in Ajnala Tehsil of Amritsar, allegedly throw acid on Rajwinder Kaur, Class-12 student, on her way home to Kahnuwan village. Victim suffers 20% burns. Manpreet was upset at rejection of his advances.
March 5: The accused arrested from Manpreet's house at Bhaowali village in Ajnala
March 6: State government announces special exams to be held for the victim and the cost of treatment to be paid by it
March 8: Shopkeeper who allegedly sold the acid to the accused arrested from Ajnala in Amritsar; 650 litres acid recovered from godown.