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, TNN | Aug 1, 2012

: A gym instructor stabbed a woman 20 times on evening in the middle of a road in Andheri (East), notwithstanding the presence of scores of bystanders. The woman, a 24-year-old accountant, had refused to marry him, the police said.

Pradeep Patel (30) used a sharp weapon to repeatedly attack Deepti (name changed) in the back, hands, chest and abdomen, but onlookers stood frozen on the spot at the sight of the horror playing in front of them. “No one came forward to rescue her. Patel warned witnesses to keep away from him, threatening to kill them all. Some people ran to the nearest buildings when Patel started his orgy of attack. Many went inside their homes,” said senior inspector S L Hujband of the MIDC .

The incident occurred between 5 and 5.15pm close to a school in Malpha Dongri, where Deepti is employed.

Around 4.30pm, Deepti signed off and went over to her aunt’s house, which is near the school. “Around 5pm, she left our house to go to Mahim, where she lives,” said a cousin in the police complaint. “Patel attacked her when she had hardly walked 100 metres away from our home. He must have been waiting there on the roadside. He accosted her and asked if she would marry him. When she refused, he became furious. Then he forced her to step aside and started her.”

Had her cousins not rushed to the spot, Deepti could have bled to death, the police said. She was taken to Cooper Hospital and from there to Nair Hospital, where she was operated upon. “Her condition is stable. She has been kept under observation. The abdominal injury was severe and any delay in admitting her to hospital could have cost her life,” said Hujband.

Patel fled the spot for a relative’s home in Borivli. After a nine-hour search, the police traced him there. He has been arrested and booked for attempt to murder and wrongful confinement.

Inspector Shobha Pise said Patel used to be a gym instructor but had taken to drugs and was unemployed. “He used to harass Deepti in the middle of the road every now and then. While stabbing her, he was raving and ranting like a mad man.”.

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