BMW case: Sanjeev Nanda found guilty
Nine years after a former Navy chief’s grandson Sanjeev Nanda drove over and killed six people in Delhi, judge finds him guilty, reports Naziya Alvi. See Graphics | Surfers' ResponseUpdated: Sep 03, 2008, 11:58 IST
A city court on Tuesday held Sanjeev Nanda, grandson of former naval chief SM Nanda, guilty of killing six persons while driving drunk in 1999. He could get 10 years under a legal provision rarely used against drink driving.
Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Kumar convicted Nanda of culpable homicide not amounting to murder under section 304 (part II) of IPC that attracts a maximum imprisonment of 10 years.
The punishment for causing death while driving drunk has generally been two years under Section 304-A. Experts said the harsher punishment given to Nanda would help check drink driving.
Nanda’s close friend and co-accused Manik Kapoor was acquitted for want of evidence. Other accused — businessman Rajeev Gupta and his servants Bhola Nath and Shyam Singh — were held guilty of destruction of evidence, bloodstains washed off the car involved in the accident, a BMW.
Nanda was taken into custody immediately after being pronounced guilty. The sentencing is on Wednesday.
Taking a serious view of drink driving, the judge said if the act results in death, it takes the crime out of the purview of section 304A (rash and negligent driving) and it could even be covered under the definition of murder.
“It must not be forgotten that a motor vehicle being driven by a drunk driver is virtually a death machine on the road,” the ASJ said. However, the court did not venture into the possibility of convicting Nanda of murder because he was not charged with murder.
As the judge pronounced the verdict in a jam-packed courtroom at 12:20 pm., Nanda stood calm with a vermilion mark on his forehead. He was seen consoling his mother who broke down after hearing the verdict.
His father Suresh Nanda, an arms dealer and 90-year old grandmother, sister Shonali Nanda, and a few friends were also present in the court.
The judge said, “…this trial is an example where the entire criminal justice system was hijacked by the rich and influential accused persons.”
In his 87-page verdict, Kumar lambasted the police for a shoddy probe. “This was a high profile case, being monitored by the top police officers. Therefore, such level of inefficiency is not incidental, rather to my mind, the same appears to be deliberate.”
Media, however, got a pat on their back. “This is a trial in which entire criminal justice system crumbled; though a hope of justice still remained because of the watchful eyes of vigilant fourth estate”, the court said.