2 Sep : A Delhi court on Tuesday convicted Sanjeev Nanda for mowing down six persons in BMW hit-and -run case, meanwhile the court also held three others guilty, including businessman Rajeev Gupta, for destruction of evidence.
However, Co-accused Manik Kapoor has been acquitted in the case. The quantum of punishment will be prononced by the court on Wednesday.Sanjeev Nanda, grandson of former Naval Chief S M Nanda,mowed down six persons, including three policemen in the wee hours in January 1999 in the Lodhi Colony in south Delhi.
The Section 304 (Part II) of the IPC is applied in a case where an accused commits an act with the knowledge that it is likely to cause death but without any intention to cause death. The provision prescribes a maximum prison term of 10 year or fine or both as punishment.
Nanda, sporting vermilion on his forehead, entered the courtroom around 12.15 pm along with his grandmother, Gyatri Nanda, father and sister Sonali to attend the crucial proceedings on the verdict day.
His family members were left shocked as the court pronounced him guilty under a penal provision which carries a maximum punishment of 10 years.Tears welled up in the eyes of Nanda’s relatives and well-wishers as soon as the judge delivered his judgement. Nanda’s advocates also tried to consoled him.
His relatives, however, refused to comment on the conviction and looked on in disbelief as Nanda, who was out on bail till on Tuesday, was taken into custody by the police for being taken to Tihar jail van.
On the contrary, Public Prosecutor Rajeev Mohan expressed satisfaction over the outcome of the case which hinged on the circumstantial evidence.As many as two eye-witnesses, including the sole survivor of the incident Manoj Malik, had turned hostile and claimed that it was not a car but a truck that had caused the incident.
Two Delhi Police constables — Ram Raj and Peru Lal — and one CRPF constable, Rajan Kumar, and three others — Mehdi Hasan, Nazir and Ghulam — were killed after being hit by the speeding BMW in the wee hours of 10th January 1999.
Imputing motives on Nanda, the prosecution had claimed that the accused, after hitting the victims, had stopped the vehicle, descended from it to assess the damage and driven away despite knowing that some the victims were entangled under the car and were crying for help.
"The intention to indulge in such an act which could result into the death of the victims was writ large when Nanda deliberately fled away from the spot," Mohan had said in his final arguments.
The defence, however, had opposed the prosecution saying that it was just a case of accident and Nanda could at best be convicted under Section 304 A of the IPC for causing death by rash and negligent act which carries a two-year jail term.
The trial in the case had seen many twists and turns with Sunil Kulkarni, a key eye witness, who was earlier dropped as prosecution witness after being condemned as "won-over" and being summoned last year again as a court witness.
Continuing with his flip-flops, Kulkarni though named Sanjeev Nanda as one of occupant but stopped short of saying that the accused was in the driving seat at the time of the accident.
Meanwhile, a sting operation was telecast on 30th May last year showing collusion between senior defence counsel R K Anand and prosecutor I U Khan, prompting the Delhi High Court to take a suo motu cognisance a day later.
The High Court had on 21st August convicted both the lawyers for obstructing administration of justice and as a punishment debarred them from appearing in courts for four months.
Expressing dissatisfaction over the verdict, Nanda’s counsel Ramesh Gupta said "Now, you (intending towards media personnel) might be feeling elated as the acquittal of Nanda would have meant travesty of justice."
As a distraught Nanda took up the procedural formalities that follow a conviction, his father Suresh Nanda, an arms dealer, told reporters that they would look into the judgement before saying anything.
Sanjeev’s friend Manik, who was acquitted of all the charges, was seen crying inconsolably. "My friend Nanda was also innocent," he said. DDINEWS