Main accused Sambia Sohrab was at the wheel and speeding his Audi SUV when he fatally knocked down an air force corporal supervising the Republic Day parade rehearsal on Kolkata’s Red Road, families of two of his friends alleged on Sunday.
Sambia, the younger son of former RJD legislator Mohammad Sohrab who is now a leader of the ruling Trinamool Congress, was arrested on Saturday night from his in-laws’ home and sent to police custody till January 30.
He has been accused of mowing down 21-year-old Corporal Abhimanyu Gaud with a brand new luxury car after breaking through three barricades around 6.30am on January 13. Gaud from Gujarat was dragged 200 metres before the driver abandoned the vehicle a kilometre away.
Sambia, who got married in the first week of January, was charged with murder under the Indian Penal Code, instead of less harsh provisions in the motor vehicles act. His bail plea was rejected.
Relatives of Sambia’s friends Jonny and Sonu, who were thought to be with him when the accident happened, said they were in a separate car.
“My brother was not in the car that Sambia was driving. He and Sonu reached home before the incident occurred. They came to know about it when Sambia told him over telephone about four hours later,” said Hany Alam, elder brother of Jonny who is absconding.
Initially, police were targetting Ambia Sohrab, Sambia’s elder brother. But the case took a twist when the sister-in-law of Sonu, the grandson of Rashid Khan who is serving a life term for his role in the 1993 Kolkata bomb blast that killed nearly 50 people, lodged a missing complaint with police on Friday. She alleged that Sambia was at the wheel and was alone.
Their two families’ version matched the army’s report that a lone man was inside the car. Mobile phone tower location details also confirmed Sambia was at the accident site.
Sambia, Jonny and Sonu were close friends and often visited bars and discotheques together in the city, a police officer said.
In a video, apparently sent from his hiding place, Jonny alleged that Sambia was drunk and didn’t heed their advice not to drive the car, the officer said.