The Class 12 student who allegedly mowed down a 32-year-old man with a Mercedes was detained on Sunday on charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and sent to a juvenile home, police said.
The teenager was produced before the juvenile justice board, which will also decide if he can be tried as an adult as is being demanded by police and the victim’s family, on the orders of a city court that refused him bail.
A law that allows children aged between 16 and 18 to be tried as adults for heinous crimes came into force in January. The boy turned 18, which is also the legal age for driving, on Friday, four days after he allegedly ran over Siddharth Sharma in north Delhi’s civil lines.
Giving himself up before the city court, the boy said reports he had fled Delhi were incorrect. He applied for bail but was denied by the court, which told police to produce him before the JJ board, which hears cases of children in conflict with law.
The case, which has caused widespread outrage, has brought the focus back on the menace of underage driving, as it emerged that the teenager was involved in at least two crashes and was also reported for speeding this year.
The boy was detained after the accident but was granted bail because he was a minor. He was booked for causing death due to negligence but police added the more serious charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder after they found the teenager was a repeat offender.
The maximum punishment for the crime is life imprisonment but the most a minor serves — for any offence — is three years and that too in a special facility.
The boy’s father, who owns a printing business, was given bail on Sunday. He was arrested April 8 after traffic records showed four fines against the car in the last eight months. Police accuse the father of failing to stop his underage son from driving.
Bail was also granted to the family’s driver Kapil Mishra few hours after he was arrested for giving a false statement. After the accident on April 4, Mishra had walked into the local police station and said he was the one driving the car. When police told him that Sharma had died, Mishra accused the boy’s father of forcing him to take the blame for his son and fled. DCP (North) Madhur Verma said Mishra’s employer would be questioned.
In the evening, Siddharth Sharma’s friends and family held a protest demonstration in Connaught Place, demanding that the boy be tried as an adult. Families of other road accidents also joined them.
Sharma was a student of information technology at Stratford University’s branch in Lajpat Nagar. He was to leave for the US later this year for higher studies.