Police chief issues guidelines on investigating fatal accidents

Remember the Utsav Bhasin case last month, where the 19-year-old reportedly abandoned his BMW car at Lajpat Nagar after hitting two motorcyclists, one of whom died later?
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Updated on Oct 14, 2008 11:49 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByVijaita Singh, New Delhi

Remember the Utsav Bhasin case last month, where the 19-year-old reportedly abandoned his BMW car at Lajpat Nagar after hitting two motorcyclists, one of whom died later?

As police searched for Bhasin across the city, the BMW, that held important forensic evidence, remained parked on roadside for nearly 24 hours after the accident.

“Much of the evidence was lost in those 24 hours,” admitted a police officer handling the case.

With such shoddy investigations into accident cases that often lead to acquittal of accused, Delhi Police Commissioner Y.S. Dadwal has issued a slew of guidelines to be followed by his subordinates while investigating accident cases-both fatal and simple.

More recently, in the Soumya Vishwanathan case, police botched up again.

“There was no Inspector-level officer at the spot. Her car was left unattended. They failed to notice the bullet mark, leading to confusion that she died in an accident. Fingerprint samples were not lifted immediately. First few hours (called the golden hours in police lingo) were lost,” said a south district police officer.

No wonder, the killers of the 25-year-old TV journalist are still at large and even after two weeks of her murder, the police are clueless even about on the motive of the murder.

“It is becoming apparent that the investigation of accident cases are not done in a proper and scientific manner. As a result the accused are acquitted on the basis of benefit of doubt or lack of evidence and in some cases even the courts have passed severe strictures or remarks against the investigating officers. It has been further observed that road accident cases are not given appropriate importance in many police stations,” Dadwal said in a recent order pertaining to investigation of road accidents.

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