In a setback to the prosecution in the BMW hit-and-run case, a key witness on Tuesday told a trial court in the Capital that it was not Sanjeev Nanda, the main accused, who was driving the car which mowed down six persons in 1999.
"It was a healthy and hefty man that emerged out of the driving seat of the car just after the accident and he is not present in the court right now," Sunil Kulkarni, a Mumbai-based trader, told Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Kumar during his cross-examination by the prosecution.
As against the prosecution theory that claimed that Nanda, grandson of former Naval Chief S M Nanda, was on the steering when the accident took place, he said the alleged driver's physical features did not match with either of the accused present in the courtroom.
Kulkarni, however, admitted Nanda was one of the occupants who alighted from the car just after the incident.
He reiterated that it was sheer Delhi 'police pressure' that had forced him to name Sanjeev Nanda in his earlier statement whereas he had actually heard his nickname "Sanj" or "Sanz" being used by co-accused after the accident.
Kulkarni also virtually disowned his statement made to the police on March 31, 1999, in which he had identified Nanda at the Patiala House courts as the man who 'killed' six people by his rash driving.
"I do not remember having made any such statement to the police and had it been the case, I would not have waited for such a long time," he told the court.
Earlier during the day, the Delhi High Court had dismissed Nanda's petition challenging summoning of Kulkarni as a court witness and allowed his cross-examination.