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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

It was a black car, says BMW case witness

IANS  New Delhi, May 17, 2007
First Published: 19:18 IST(17/5/2007) | Last Updated: 21:25 IST(17/5/2007)

A key eyewitness in the infamous 1999 BMW hit-and-run accident, in which former Indian Navy chief S M Nanda's grandson Sanjeev Nanda is involved, told a Delhi court on Thursday that it was a black car that had mowed down six people in the wee hours of January 10 that year in the capital.

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Mumbai-based trader Sunil Kulkarni told the Additional Sessions judge Vinod Kumar that he saw the black car mowing down the people lying on a roadside pavement on Lodhi Road, while he was on his way to the railway station to catch a train.

He told the court that after the accident he saw two people coming out of the car and heard one of them telling his companion, "Sanjeev, let's go".

And the two hurriedly drove away.

This crucial deposition by Kulkarni almost tallies with his earlier statement to a magistrate.

On May 15, Kulkarni had appeared before the court for his deposition but was not able to complete it owing to ill-health.

The court had deferred his deposition to Thursday, binding him to conclude it the same day.

Earlier, Sanjeev Nanda had approached the Delhi High Court to have Kulkarni's deposition stalled on the grounds that the prosecution had dropped his name from the list of witnesses saying that he was not keen to support his earlier statement to the magistrate.

But Kulkarni contested the claim saying that it was the police that was bent upon turning him hostile as they had picked him up on two occasions in August 1999 before his deposition to harass him.

But the high court refused to stay Kulkarni's testimony and prevented the defence and prosecution to cross-examine him till further orders.

The matter would come up for hearing in the high court on May 23.

During the trial, the prosecution had dropped Kulkarni as an "unreliable witness" as it suspected that he had been won over by the accused, despite the fact that he had recorded his statement before a magistrate indicting Nanda.

On March 19, the judge using his powers to recall a witness summoned Kulkarni to depose in the case. This was challenged by Sanjeev in the high court.

Two other witnesses, Manoj Malik and Harishankar, the petrol pump attendant who had called up the Police Control Room, have already turned hostile. Malik had told the court that it was a truck, not a car, which killed the people.

According to the prosecution, six people, including three policemen, were crushed to death by a BMW car allegedly driven by Sanjeev in an inebriated state on Lodhi Road in the early hours of January 10, 1999. Sanjeev's two friends Siddhartha Gupta and Manik Kapoor were also named in the case along with Bhola Nath and Shyam Singh Rana.

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