In a heart-wrenching Diwali tragedy, a 22-year-old victim of acid attack and petrol burning by her boyfriend lay abandoned in a roadside ditch for over 12 hours, and after a 16-hour fight for life, succumbed on Sunday morning, an official said.
The incident happened sometime late on Friday night when the duo - Avinash R Rajure, 25 and Savitra D Ankulkar, 22, were riding on a motorcycle from Pune to their home in Shelgaon village, Nanded, district, for Diwali celebrations, said Neknur Police Station investigating officer Laxman Kendre.
"En route on the 450-kms journey, around 2 am on Saturday, the accused Rajure stopped his vehicle at a desolate spot on the Yellamb Ghat region and attacked the victim," Kendre told IANS.
The police official said that first, the accused attempted to strangulate her but she fought back, then he removed a bottle of acid and threw it on her as she screamed for help at the dead of the night in that remote area.
Not stopping at this, Rajure removed petrol from his vehicle, poured it on her, set her ablaze and pushed her into a deep ditch beside the road as she burnt, before decamping from there.
"A shepherd tending to his flock heard her whimpering from the ditch around 2 pm (afternoon) on Saturday and immediately informed us. We reached the spot and found her in agony with serious acid and petrol burns, and rushed her to the Beed Civil Hospital.
"She had sustained 50 per cent burn injuries due to the acid and the petrol fire and breathed her last this (Sunday) morning at the hospital after a 16-hour battle for life," said a disturbed Kendre.
As per preliminary investigations, the accused and victim stayed together in Pune as live-in partners for a few weeks, though the motive behind the murderous attack is not clear, he added.
The Neknur Police Station has registered a case of murder while the Beed Police have sounded a high alert for all district border police outposts from Pune to Nanded in an effort to nab the accused Rajure.
The Diwali day tragedy has shaken the district police with top officials supervising the probe to ensure justice to the victim whose family reached Beed this morning to claim her body.