Australia hit-and-run case: mother defends accused | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Australia hit-and-run case: mother defends accused

chandigarh Updated: Dec 12, 2013 20:11 IST

The mother of Indian national Puneet, 24, who fled from Australia after allegedly killing a teenager in a hit-and-run incident in 2008, defended her son on Thursday, saying that "accidents happen all the time".

She was speaking to AFP here outside a court where Puneet made a brief appearance as the authorities are seeking his extradition back to Australia to face charges.

"What can I do now? I can stand here and cry, but is this going to help? My son would be pained to see me break down like this, so I would rather hold back my tears," said Puneet's mother, who did not want to be named.

"My son is saying that 'yes, an accident happened'. But it was an accident and accidents happen all the time," she said.

"I have faith in God and the judiciary. So many Indians were killed in Australia probably in cold-blooded ways. What about those?" she added.

A string of attacks on Indian students in Australia in 2011 outraged public opinion in India and led to accusations of racism against migrants, sparking a diplomatic row between the two countries.

Puneet is expected back in court on Friday, after earlier being driven in police custody from Rajpura (Punjab) to Delhi for the extradition process.

His family has told the Australian media that he will not contest the extradition back to Melbourne. Puneet was a 19-year-old learner driver when he hit two students, Dean Hofstee (19) and Clancy Coker (20), as they walked across a Melbourne road in 2008. Hofstee died at the scene.

The Australian police estimated that Puneet was driving at 148 km an hour, more than double the legal limit in the area. He also tested positive for alcohol.

He was charged with culpable driving and negligently causing serious injury, then bailed on strict conditions, including the surrender of his passport. But he later fled using a fellow Indian's passport.

The Australian police offered a reward in 2012 for information leading to his arrest.