How a broken bumper led cops to suspect in Delhi hit-and-run case
A part of a car’s broken bumper and a meticulous investigation spanning over a period of six days helped Delhi Police nab a radio jockey who had allegedly mowed down a scooter rider on Raisina Road on June 30.
Investigators said they shortlisted at least 2,500 Hyundai Creta cars, the kind that was involved in the mishap on June 30, and analysed footage from at least 100 CCTVs before zeroing in and nabbing their suspect on Saturday morning.
Madhur Verma, deputy commissioner of police (New Delhi), said that the suspect — 34-year-old suspect, Ankit Gulati — was “drunk and watching a video on his mobile phone” when he allegedly ran over Dheeraj Kumar, a Lok Janshakti Party worker, with his SUV.
“Gulati is a RJ with a radio station in Delhi and also serves as a senior manager of the station’s sales department,” said Verma, adding that it was a case of hit-and-run rather than murder.
Kumar’s relatives had earlier suspected that his death was a murder, disguised as a road mishap.
They had pointed to his alleged dispute with authorities of a church and the CCTV footage of the mishap, claims that found support from Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal who had ordered a magisterial probe in the matter .
Describing the sequence of events leading to the accident, DCP Verma said that Gulati and four of his friends headed to a pub in south Delhi’s Nehru Place around 12.30am on June 30. “They consumed alcohol there before heading to a hotel in Chanakyapuri, where they drank some more,” said the DCP.
Around 5.15am, the four friends left for their homes while Gulati visited a hotel in Connaught Place for another party, said the DCP.
It was on the way to CP that Gulati’s SUV allegedly hit the scooter from on the Raisina Road at 5.38am. “Gulati has confessed that he failed to spot the scooter rider as he was watching videos of his time at the pubs that night,” said the DCP.
The officer said that videos obtained from Gulati’s mobile phone revealed that he was drunk at the time of the mishap, but they couldn’t prove it medically since he was arrested six days after the incident.
“But we will have circumstantial evidence to nail him,” assured the officer.
The first footage accessed by the police shows a Hyundai Creta car suddenly swerving to its left and hitting the scooter rider before driving away. This had prompted the dead man’s family to suspect foul play.
But the CCTV footage didn’t help identify the car’s registration number.
So, the police picked up some broken pieces of the car from the spot.
“It included a portion of the car’s bumper that bore some number. So, we sought help from Hyundai officials who were able to tell us from which lot the car belonged to,” said Shobhit Saxena, additional deputy commissioner of police (New Delhi).
There were 2,500 cars that rolled out in that particular lot. Of them, 72 were registered in Delhi-NCR.
“We then went on to analyse footage from another 100 CCTVs. Two of them revealed that the car was registered in Delhi and a third revealed that the last digit of the car’s number was 6,” said Saxena.
Of the lot of 2,500 Cretas, there were four registered in Delhi and had ‘6’ as its last digit. “We physically checked all the four cars. Only one of them was not at home,” said Saxena, adding that Gulati lives in East Patel Nagar.
DCP Verma said that the car they were looking for was handed to a private service station a day after the mishap. “The car was registered in the name of Gulati’s father. Gulati had asked the service station to give the car a new look so that all signs of a mishap could be erased,” said the DCP.
Gulati was picked up for questioning and he broke down and confessed when confronted with evidence, said the DCP. The car, which was yet to be repaired, has been seized.
Gulati holds bachelors and masters degrees in business management from institutes in Delhi.