Dadar Police Hunt For Absconding Vashi Suspect
Mumbai: While Jerrit John, 45, has been booked for theft and wrongful confinement, the Dadar police are investigating a case in which the Vashi resident is suspected to have hurled a chemical at the face of 26-year-old physiotherapist Aryanka Hozbetkar at the woman’s Worli residence. Senior inspector of the Dadar police, Prakash Patil, confirmed that John, who was absconding at the time of going to press, has been booked by the cops for theft and wrongful confinement.
TOI has learned that the chemical attack has severely affected one of Hozbetkar’s eyes, although officials at P D Hinduja Hospital, Mahim, where she is being treated, refused to comment on the extent of the damage. A family friend said, “There have been injuries to the face and an eye may be badly affected. But she is out of danger now.” Neither the hospital nor the family would confirm if the attack had disfigured Hozbetkar’s face. Police said that one of her friends, Shammi Sharma, who was present when the attack took place, has also sustained injuries.
Hozbetkar met John, who is employed with a private firm at Bandra-Kurla Complex, soon after she joined a cycling group. Sources close to the investigation said that Hozbetkar and John had been going on cycling trips together. “They were very good friends. But after a point Hozbetkar did not want to continue with the friendship and she made that clear to him,” a source said. On Wednesday at around 4am, Hozbetkar had just returned from one of her trips with her friends when John called her. “He came over to her place and before anyone could realize anything was amiss, he hurled some liquid at her face. She started screaming and saying that her skin was burning,” said the source. The source said that John had stopped going for cycling trips lately.
Before either Hozbetkar’s parents, who were in the next room, or her friends could react, John fled the scene and bolted the Hozbetkars’ door from outside. He also took her cell phone, said a source. John was a frequent visitor to the Hozbetkar house and was known to her parents. The victim’s relatives, who stay next door, had to unlock the door, following which she was rushed to the hospital.
The Dadar police stopped short of saying acid had been flung at the girl. “It did look like some corrosive material but it is difficult to say whether it was acid,” said the source. The police have collected samples from the house, which will be sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory at Kalina.
Patil said that a team was sent to John’s Vashi residence, but it was locked. He confirmed that John had run away with the victim’s cell phone. “We are investigating the case,” he said.
The Times of India, November 8, 2012