The Bombay High Court on Thursday came down heavily on the prosecution in the Alistair Pereira case as well as the Khar police.
Loopholes in the probe had led to the 21-year getting off with a mere six-month sentence for running over seven pavement dwellers on Carter Road on November 12, 2006.
A division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice S.C. Dharmadhikari said the prosecution was “insensitive during the investigation”.
The court also directed Police Commissioner D.N. Jadhav to personally look into the probe and the appeal filed by the state government seeking a tougher sentence for Pereira.
Hearing a suo moto petition, the court asked Advocate General Ravi Kadam to see why Pereira was charged under Section 304(ii) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder).
“If the charges in the first information report show that Pereira was booked under Section 304(a) (causing death due to rash and negligent driving), then why did the prosecution allow the Sessions Court to frame charges under Section 304(ii)? Why didn’t the state charge Pereira under Sections 279, 336, 337, 338 and 437 (all charges relating to causing injury)?” the court said.
Kadam said: “The case depended on the chemical analysis report, but the trial finished in just five days and the order was completed in two days”.
The court also sought a reply on why other occupants of Pereira’s car were not examined. Kadam simply said: “The prosecutor did not show presence of mind”.
The court also wondered how, when fined Rs 5 lakh, Pereira managed to deposit the amount within five minutes of his conviction. “Did he know in advance?” the court asked.
Pereira, who was in court with his family, replied to the questions in person as his lawyer was not present.
When he informed the court that his lawyer was out of the country, Justice Kumar retorted: “In such a big city, you can’t find a lawyer for yourself?”
Also, while leaving, when Pereira turned his back to the court, Justice Kumar shouted: “You don’t have courtesy to bow to the court!”