The gods were not on Sanjeev Nanda’s side on Tuesday as the morning visit to the temple and the vermilion mark on his forehead failed to fetch him a favourable verdict. However, the other accused, Manik Kapoor, was acquitted of all charges.
Crying inconsolably, he just said, “My friend Sanjeev was also innocent.” Public prosecutor Rajeev Mohan, however, expressed satisfaction over the outcome of the case that was based on circumstantial evidence.
“The intention to indulge in such an act, which could result in the death of the victims, was writ large when Nanda deliberately fled the spot,” Mohan said in his final arguments.
The entourage of friends and family members accompanying the Nandas looked on in disbelief when Sanjeev was arrested and taken to Tihar Jail. He had been out on bail till Tuesday. Sudhir Kapoor, Manik’s father, later said, “My son’s acquittal and the verdict are still sinking in.”
Ullhas Giri, former investigating officer of the case, was also present in court. He looked visibly relieved and relaxed after the verdict was pronounced.
“I felt as if a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I have been through a lot of tension because of this case. For a police officer, the challenge was to get justice for the poor who died that night.” Now retired, Giri was present at almost all the hearings.
Sanjeev’s father Suresh Nanda refused to say anything before looking into the judgment.
Nanda’s counsel Ramesh Gupta blasted the media and expressed disappointment with the verdict. “Now, you might be feeling elated as the acquittal of Sanjeev would have meant a travesty of justice,” he remarked ironically.
Gupta had argued that Nanda could at most be convicted for causing death by a rash and negligent act, which carries a two-year jail term.
None of the victims’ family members were present during the proceedings.