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Pune Porsche crash: Aunt moves HC, demands immediate release of nephew

BySahyaja MS
Jun 15, 2024 08:46 AM IST

A plea to release a 17-year-old accused in a fatal Porsche crash in Pune is filed in Bombay HC, claiming illegal detention and seeking protection under Juvenile Justice Act. Court to consider on June 20.

MUMBAI: The paternal aunt of the 17-year-old accused in the Porsche crash that resulted in the deaths of two young software engineers in Pune’s Kalyani Nagar last month has approached the Bombay high court seeking immediate release of her nephew, claiming his remand to an observation home as illegal.

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On Wednesday, the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) of Pune extended the minor’s remand in the observation home for another 14 days (up to June 25), following his initial remand that started on May 22 and was extended to June 12. The minor is accused of causing death by negligence after he drove his Porsche over two IT professionals, Ashwini Koshta and Aneesh Awadhiya, allegedly in an inebriated state in the early hours of May 19.

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She argues in her petition that the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act was not applied correctly. She also mentioned that the initial investigation deviated due to public outcry and media pressure, including attempts to try the minor as an adult. She argues that the incident was a tragic accident, however, the minor was booked under bailable sections.

The plea also says that the minor was subjected to mob violence following the incident and was detained illegally until the next day despite having been previously interrogated by the police. It claims the subsequent remand and detention in the observation home, following his initial release to his grandfather, is unlawful.

Further, the petition alleges that the minor’s family, including his mother, father, and grandfather, were also arrested for their supposed contribution to the minor’s recklessness. It highlights the absence of a proper application by the investigating agency under Section 439 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), labelling the agency’s plea as not legally maintainable.

The writ petition, filed through advocate Swapnil Ambure, insists that the minor should be protected per the Juvenile Justice Act to prevent him from becoming a hardened criminal. It claims, “The material, available easily on the public platforms, would show that not only the CCL and his family is being targeted, but even a judicial officer and the judiciary is mocked in a highly contemptuous way. Thankfully, at least as of now, there is no question about a judicial officer’s integrity.”

The petition further states, “Therefore, an intervention of the HC in the present case is essential to protect the spirit of justice. If an offence is said to have been committed, there is a process which is enacted, and one cannot bypass the same not even under the powerful push of the mainstream media.”

However, on Friday, the court declined to grant immediate relief for the minor’s release, stating that the plea would be considered on June 20. Public Prosecutor Hiten Venegaonkar, representing the state, questioned the maintainability of the petition, asserting that the minor was in legal custody.

The aunt also seeks to quash and set aside the orders of May 22 and June 4, 2024, passed by the Magistrate, Juvenile Justice Board Pune, for psychological and de-addiction counselling, which she deems illegal. Pending the disposal of the plea, she urges the court for the minor’s temporary release from what she describes as ‘unlawful’ incarceration.

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