Driving driving accidents are culpable homicide not amounting to murder, says HC while refusing Nagpur businesswoman’s bail | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Driving driving accidents are culpable homicide not amounting to murder, says HC while refusing Nagpur businesswoman’s bail

Jun 27, 2024 07:38 AM IST

Nagpur court rejects bail for businesswoman who killed two in drunk driving incident, ruling it as culpable homicide. No relief granted due to seriousness of offense.

NAGPUR: The Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court rejected the anticipatory bail of a businesswoman who killed two persons while driving her Mercedes under the influence, observing that any cases of drunk driving resulting in death amounts to culpable homicide not amounting to murder. While rejecting the bail application, a single bench of Justice Urmila Joshi-Phalke on Wednesday said that no one should drive a vehicle after consuming alcohol, deeming it a serious misconduct.

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The incident occurred on February 25, when Ritu Dinesh Maloo, 39, visited a club along with her friend Madhuri Shishir Sarda, 37, and drank at two different bars. Around 1.30am, she and her friend left the club in her Mercedes and minutes later Maloo, who was driving, first brushed the wall of a bridge and later hit an Activa in high speed on Nagpur’s Ram Jhula bridge.

Initially, Maloo, who runs Star Origin Business Solutions Pvt Ltd, was booked under section 304(a), a bailable offence, which led to Maloo being granted bail by the local JMFC court. However, when the blood sample report revealed that Maloo was driving under the influence of alcohol, the police added section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code, along with charges of causing death by negligence, rash and negligent driving and causing hurt by a rash act. After this, Maloo moved high court for her pre-arrest bail.

The bench noted that driving under the influence of alcohol makes road accidents a predictable consequence. “In such a scenario, attributing knowledge to the driver of the vehicle that death can be a likely consequence of drunken driving is legally tenable,” the court said.

It emphasised that a prudent person would not drive under the influence of alcohol. The bench remarked that Malu is “highly educated” and from a “highly respectable family”.

Following the accident, Maloo and her friend Sarda fled the accident scene. However, both women later surrendered to the police and obtained bail.

The accused contended that she had consumed alcohol within permissible limits and that the incident was merely an accident. She claimed no custodial interrogation was necessary. Her lawyer argued that the police had completed their investigation, recorded her statement, and collected sufficient evidence, including taking all the required details from the accident scene, thus making her custodial interrogation unnecessary.

However, the court observed that the accused did not stop to help the injured persons and tried to mislead the police by stating different stories in her statements. “Without showing any remorse, the applicant left the scene,” the court noted, emphasising the gravity of driving under the influence and the associated risks. The court concluded that the manner of the accident warranted the application of Section 304 of the IPC, denying Maloo any relief and rejecting her pre-arrest bail plea.

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