Delhi Mercedes hit-and-run: Teen ‘driver’ charged with culpable homicide

  • Karn Pratap Singh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 10, 2016 02:14 IST
File photo of family members and friends of 32-year-old Siddharth Sharma outside the Nigambodh Ghat in north Delhi. (Sonu Mehta/HT Photo)

The teenager who allegedly mowed down a pedestrian with his father’s Mercedes car in north Delhi’s Civil Lines on Monday was charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder on Saturday, taking into account that he was a repeat offender who caused accidents by driving rashly.

The boy, learnt to have turned 18 on Friday, allegedly used to carry a fake ID of a Delhi University college while driving his father’s car. By showing the ID, he used to hoodwink traffic cops into believing he was an adult driver. Police sources said they had recovered the fake ID and investigators were probing how he procured it. His passport has already been seized by police to ensure he does not leave the country.

On Saturday, his father, owner of the Mercedes, was produced before a Delhi court which sent him to a day’s police custody after he was arrested on Friday under the charge of abetment to culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

The businessman will be confronted with a range of questions, mostly surrounding the mystery regarding a man who approached police after the incident to take responsibility as the driver, only to retract later. More charges could be slapped on the businessman depending on disclosures during the interrogation, an official privy to the investigation said.

Watch: How Mercedes hit a 32-year-old man in Civil Lines

The case has been transferred to the district investigation unit of north Delhi police for a speedy probe. The investigating officer was changed on Friday after the victim Siddharth Sharma’s sister met Delhi police chief Alok Kumar Verma and urged him to take strict action against the perpetrators.

The charge sheet would be filed in a month, the official said.

Police are planning to approach the juvenile justice board to seek permission to treat the boy as an adult accused. Senior officers said they would consult legal experts before approaching the board.

“If permitted, the boy would serve his punishment in jail instead of at a correction home for minor accused. The principal magistrate of the board will take the final call on our plea,” a senior officer said.

Also Read | Mercedes hit-and-run: Driver slapped with five challans in 8 months

Criminal lawyer Pradeep Rana said it was a bailable offence. “The minor can be charged, no doubt about it, but he will be tried before the juvenile justice board,” he said.

Madhur Verma, DCP (North), said during the probe it emerged that Monday was not the first time the teenager had violated traffic norms. In the past, too, he had been found driving in a rash and negligent manner, causing a road accident with another vehicle, he said.

Father of 32-year-old Sidharth Sharma who was killed when a speeding Mercedes car allegedly driven by a teen, hit him while he was crossing the road on April 5, 2016, in New Delhi. (HT Photo)

Last year, the minor was challaned at least thrice — for speeding in April and June and for parking wrongly in February.

“In view of these facts, the death of Siddharth Sharma is a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and, hence, section 304 of IPC has been added in the FIR,” Verma said.

Also Read | Mercedes hit-and-run case: Father of boy driving the car arrested

The car was speeding at about 80 km per hour and Sharma was flung several feet into the air by the impact of the crash and landed around 15 metres away from where he stood.

After the incident, a group of youths stepped out of the vehicle and fled the spot, abandoning the car there.

The last time Delhi Police booked someone for culpable homicide in such a matter was in the Sanjeev Nanda case 17 years ago, a senior official said. On January 10, 1999, six people, including three policemen, were killed by a speeding BMW car driven by Nanda in the wee hours in south Delhi’s Lodhi Colony area. A similar view was taken by Mumbai Police in the hit-and-run case involving actor Salman Khan.

(Inputs from Avantika Mehta)

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