Nine years after he mowed down six people with his speeding car, Sanjeev Nanda has been sentenced to five years’ rigorous imprisonment. A city court had pronounced him guilty in the case on Tuesday.
Announcing the sentence on Friday, Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Kumar termed Nanda’s crime more serious than the Alistair Pareira case in Mumbai. Pareira was sentenced to three years in prison and fined Rs 5 lakh for running over seven persons sleeping on the pavement.
“The question is whether a man on the road is safe, and whether drunken drivers would keep on committing such offences. This accountability to the society can only be suitably answered if a substantial jail term is provided to him,” Kumar said.
Nanda, 30, looked emotionally drained as the sentence was read out. Without reacting to the sentence, he discussed it with his lawyer while his parents, grandmother and sister waited anxiously for an opportunity to talk to him.
Nanda’s co-convict and businessman Rajeev Gupta was awarded a year’s rigorous imprisonment for destruction of evidence and slapped a fine of Rs 10,000. His two employees — Bhola Nath and Shyam Singh — also got six month jail terms for the same offence. All three were granted bail immediately as their jail terms did not exceed three years.
In Nanda’s case, however, the court rejected the contention that he should be released on probation as he was just 19 at the time of the accident, and had spent nine months in jail since then.
“A person who got a driving licence from the USA can be considered to be having a higher degree of knowledge of consequences of drunken driving. Therefore, on account of his young age, no benefit can be given,” the court said. During the trial, Nanda had informed the court that he had secured his driving licence while studying in Boston.
On Tuesday, Nanda was convicted under the stringent penal section for ‘culpable homicide not amounting to murder’ rather than the milder section for ‘rash and negligent driving’.
Rejecting the contention that he had been unjustly booked under a harsh penal provision, as some policemen were among the dead, the court said, “drivers, especially those with criminal backgrounds, hit police officials on checking duty deliberately and have even killed them. Therefore, when police found a few police officials lying dead at the spot, they had just reasons to register a case for intentionally causing death.”