When crime branch officers questioned a friend of Ankur Panwar (23), arrested for allegedly throwing acid on nursing student Preethi Rathi on May 2 last year — an act that led to her death the next month — they were informed that Panwar used several cellphone numbers.
It was this information that placed Panwar at the scene of the crime on the day of the incident. Police tracked
Panwar’s whereabaouts based on new CDRs of the phone he used on May 2.
Police said while a team kept screening CCTV footage of Nizamuddin Railway Station in Delhi for Panwar, another team went looking for leads on three possible suspects named by Rathi — Pawan Gahlan, Ankur Panwar and Satyam Varghese.
Panwar, a hotel management graduate, stayed next door to the Rathi residence in Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) Colony in New Delhi’s Narela locality.
During the GRP probe and initial probe by crime branch, Panwar had provided a number that he claimed to be using since June 2013. “We found that Panwar had used five cellphone numbers within a year. We acquired the CDRs of all the numbers and found that he was in Mumbai on the day of the incident and had used one of the numbers,” said an officer.
Panwar had allegedly disposed of the SIM card and said his cellphone had been stolen, police said. The new CDR will also help investigators track his journey from New Delhi to Mumbai based on SMSes and calls made, said the officer.
Based on his statement, police suspect jealousy was the motive as Panwar’s parents constantly pushed him to match Rathi’s professional accomplishments. Panwar has been remanded in police custody till January 24.
Police could not get the old phone or the old SIM card as both were allegedly destroyed by Panwar. Meanwhile, Ankur has reportedly told police that he waited for every possible opportunity enroute to execute the crime. “Ankur had planned to commit the crime at any station between Delhi and Mumbai where he could find Preeti alone. We are probing all angles,” said assistant inspector Anil Dhole.