The acquittal of Viral Goradia, the 27-year-old MBA student from New York who was booked for a drink driving accident on December 30 last year in which his girlfriend died, has brought to the fore a major lapse in the way the Kherwadi police handled the case.
A key reason for the acquittal by the Bandra court was that the police did not conduct a blood test on Goradia to check for alcohol consumption. Hence they could not prove the accident was due to negligence on his part.
The Kherwadi police arrested Goradia in the first week of January after he was discharged from the hospital. He was subsequently released on bail by a magistrate’s court. In the charge sheet, the Kherwadi police alleged that Goradia was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident.
However, despite having the other requisites like the statement of witnesses, spot and accident panchnama, and the post-mortem report, the charge sheet did not include Goradia’s medical report mentioning the alcohol level in his blood.
Goradia’s advocate Prasant Pansare argued that there was not enough evidence to prove that his client was drunk, and that the prosecution had relied solely on the statement of the police officer, who is also the complainant in the case.
MN Singh, former commissioner of police, said, “This is negligence on the police’s part. If they had slapped charges of drink driving, a medical test was the basic thing to do, especially since drink driving led to a fatal accident in this case,” he said.
YP Singh, former IPS officer and now a lawyer, said that it was serious misconduct on the part of the investigating official not to have conducted the blood test, which can also amount to a criminal offence under the IPC. The official, Singh said, can be booked under section 217, for a public servant disobeying direction of law with intent to save a person from punishment.
“The investigating official should be held accountable and a high-level inquiry should be conducted into the lapse,” said Singh.
N Chavan, zonal deputy commissioner of police, when asked why the blood test was not conducted, said, “I cannot comment without seeing the documents.”