Thirteen years after, a former army jawan, who threw acid on a girl after she turned down his proposal of marriage, was convicted for 14 years of rigorous imprisonment (RI) by a local court in Odisha’s Jagatsinghpur district on Monday.

Santosh Kumar Vedanta, was convicted for pouring acid on one Pramodini Roul in Tirtol area in Jagatsinghpur district on April 18, 2009. His friend, Biswajit Dalsinghray alias Anil, was driving the motorcycle and assisted the convict in purchase of acid and execution of acid attack, has also been sentenced 14 years of RI.  

Reacting to court’s verdict, Ms. Roul said the attackers should have been handed out more stringent punishment.

“I have already been punished for life. My past has been erased and future mutilated in the acid attack. I have been subject to social stigma. Not many in society have the courage to see me face to face,” she said.

Ms. Roul said, “I have already punished for life for no fault of mine. But, attackers got reprieve with only 14-year of imprisonment. I will go higher court for more stringent punishment.”

Mr. Vedanta hails from Jorgadia village in Bhadrak district. He came in contact with Ms. Roul when he was deployed in Tirtol area of Jagatsinghpur for election duty. He became livid over the refusal of the victim, who was at the time 17-years-old, to marry him.

On April 18, 2009 evening, Mr. Vedanta attacked Ms. Roul with acidwhile she was returning home. The acid attack damaged her eyes, one ear and disfigured her to a large extent.

Jai Narayan Pankaj, former Jagatsinghpur Superintendent of Police, reopened the case in 2017 upon finding non-arrest of accused. After committing the crime, Mr. Vedanta served in the Indian Army in Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir. When Jagatsinghpur police visited Srinagar and Kupwara to arrest him, Vedanta had escaped from the camp. He was finally tracked down in Kolkata. Subsequently, his accomplice was arrested from Nayagarh district.

The police had earlier closed the case in 2012 citing the reason of ‘”lack of clues”.

Rasmita Sahoo, Assistant Session Judge, Women’s Court, Jagatsinghpur convicted the two for 14 years of imprisonment each including nine years imprisonment under Section 307 IPC and penalty of ₹10,000 and  another six months imprisonment in case of non-payment of penalty, said Krushna Chandra Acharya, Assistant Public Prosecutor.

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