Sunil Kulkarni, the “maverick” witness in the hit-and-run case, made headlines for his amazing “U-turns”. His flip-flops have finally landed him in deep trouble.
The Delhi High Court on Monday ordered his prosecution for “deliberately and intentionally” giving false evidence in the case. The Mumbai-based trader will be tried for perjury, which can fetch him two years in jail.
If the trial court relied heavily on Kulkarni’s testimony to nail Sanjeev Nanda under section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the IPC, the High Court hearing Nanda’s appeal said such witnesses needed to be proceeded against to ensure that “the justice delivery system does not become a laughing stock and is not reduced to a mockery”.
Justice Kailash Gambhir questioned his integrity and called him “wily” and “dishonest”.
“His entry in the case is as dramatic as could happen only in our Bollywood movies… initially, he had introduced himself as a witness without any extraneous reason. However, later after coming to know that rich and affluent persons were accused, he jumped into the fray of witnesses may be to make a fortune,” said the judge.
The defence had all along been calling him a witness desperately planted by the police.
Kulkarni had claimed to be the lone eyewitness in the case. He had initially told the police that he had gone to Lodhi Hotel to meet a client on the night of the accident and the mishap occurred on Lodhi Road when he was looking for an auto.
He left Delhi for a few days, before returning and contacting the police. He said he went to a petrol pump after the mishap and tried calling for help but the “phones were not working”.
With all other witnesses turning hostile saying it was a truck which was involved in the accident, it seemed a walkover for the defence till Kulkarni deposed in July 2007.
But he performed amazing somersaults in the court and both prosecution and defence claimed victory.
He said : “They were driving very fast. The car went to the side, crushing two people. A few others were thrown away. The driver got out and looked at the damage done to the car. Then the other person in the car came out and looked behind the car. Then they quickly drove off. I came to the police on the 15th because of my guilty conscience.”
In the court, one day Kulkarni identified Nanda as one who alighted from the driver's seat of the car after the accident. He said he heard one of the occupants of the car telling the other — “San, let us go”.
Next day, he said: “I could not see the persons, including Sanjeev Nanda, who had come out of the car after the accident. I can only speak about the physique of the occupants as I did not see them clearly.”