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Fugitive Indian student partied before fleeing Australia

world Updated: Oct 14, 2009 12:44 IST
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Indian student Puneet Puneet, who fled to India after running over a teenager, had partied hard with his friends before leaving, a court was told on Wednesday.

Dean Hofstee, a 19-year-old from Queensland, was killed when Puneet, a 19-year-old cookery student, lost control on City Road, Southbank, in October last year.

Hofstee, a nursing student, was in Melbourne for the Australian University Games.

His friend Clancy Coker, 20, was beside him when the pair were struck as they left the Mantra Southbank Hotel.

Puneet had pleaded guilty to culpable driving earlier this year.

It is alleged that Puneet bought his housemate's passport for $2,000 or $3,000 and booked a one-way ticket to India, The Age reported Wednesday.

Puneet's housemate, Sukhcharanjit Singh, 21, on Tuesday made an application for bail at the Melbourne Magistrates Court. He has been charged with improper provision of a passport.

Sergeant Chris Carnie of the major collision investigation unit said that days before Puneet left, the house of nine was celebrating.

"Everyone in the house knew he was going," Carnie was quoted as saying.

He said police had discovered Puneet booked a return ticket to New Delhi under Singh's name June 1, but three days later changed it to a one-way ticket.

A warrant had been issued for his arrest.

The County Court had heard that Puneet had not reported to police as part of his bail conditions since June 12, the Herald Sun had reported Aug 20.

Defence lawyer Scott Johns said Puneet's parents had offered to help authorities find their son. The prosecution has opposed bail, saying Singh is a flight risk.

Premier John Brumby was criticised for failing to raise the extradition of Puneet during his recent trip to India.