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Preeti Rathi trial: Witness recounts how he ferried her to three hospitals in two hours

The constable was examined by  Ujjwal Nikam and advocate Apeksha Vora

Written by Srinath Rao | Mumbai | Updated: December 26, 2015 12:06:20 am

A police constable posted with the Government Railway Police (GRP) recounted to the  Sessions Court on Monday how he had ferried acid attack victim Preeti Rathi to three  hospitals in two hours after she was attacked at Bandra Terminus in May 2013. With the  civic-run Bhabha Hospital in Banrda West turning them down, the constable decided to  take Rathi to privately-run Gurunanak Hospital in Bandra (East), only to be informed  that Rathi could not be treated there too.

Rathi, who had to come to Mumbai to work as a lieutenant at the Navy Hospital INHS  Asvini, had passed away a month after being attacked.

The constable, still posted at the Bandra railway police station, was examined by  Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam and advocate Apeksha Vora, who is representing  the accused – Ankur Panwar. Panwar was not produced in court and watched the  proceedings from jail through video conference.

Answering Nikam, the constable said that on May 2, 2013, he was the first to reach the  office of the station master at Bandra Terminus after an announcement asking all on- duty railway police personnel to report there.

“When I reached the office, I saw a woman seated in a taxi. Her face was burned and she  was in a lot of pain,” the constable said. He added that the station master handed him  a memo to be produced at Bhabha Hospital and asked him to accompany Rathi and her  family to the hospital.

The constable, however, said that doctors at Bhabha Hospital said that they could not  treat Rathi and told him to go to the nearest hospital. “I decided then to take Rathi  to Gurunanak Hospital. It was necessary to take her to the nearest hospital. It was my  decision,” the constable replied when quizzed by Vora about the the decision to go to  Gurunanak Hospital.

Admitting that he knew each hospital in the vicinity, the constable told the court that  though he was bound to follow the directions of the station master, “it depended on the  situation”.

At Gurunanak Hospital, the constable said that first-aid was given to Rathi, but he did  not note the time of admission on the memo, as required. Rathi was next taken to Masina  Hospital in Byculla after doctors at Gurunanak Hospital said that they could not treat  her too. After admitting Rathi at Masina Hospital, the constable said that he returned  to Bandra railway police station, but did not return the hospital memo to the station  master or his senior officer at the police station.

“I knew that I was supposed to do it, but did not feel like. I briefed my senior  officer,” the constable said in reply to a question posed by Vora. The constable’s  statement had been recorded at Bandra GRP on May 5, 2013.

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