How two letters helped cops nail driver in west Delhi hit-and-run case
The letters P and C on the sides of a green tempo that was loaded with bottle crates — these were the only clues police had as teams fanned out across Subhash Nagar to identify the driver of the vehicle that knocked down a 35-year-old man on Wednesday.
A CCTV footage that caught the incident went viral the next day (Thursday) as a total of 50 officers divided into six teams visited all markets across Subhash Nagar and Keshavpur Mandi, talking to shopkeepers about the tempo.
An officer said investigators involved in the case spoke to over 100 tempo owners. At 4pm, police got their first lead when a shopkeeper claimed to have spotted a similar tempo in the area.
“We got the address and reached the driver Rajesh’s home. But Rajesh wasn’t home. He had left home in the morning and not returned on Thursday,” said an investigating officer.
At around 7.30pm, a police team finally arrested Rajesh, who later confessed he had dozed off while driving at the time of the accident.
Around 5.40am on Wednesday, Rajesh’s tempo hit Mohammad Matibool (35) in front of Miraj cinemas. The accident was caught on CCTV and went viral as no passerby bothered to check on Matibool, a migrant from West Bengal, or rush him to a hospital. A man stole Matibool’s cell phone as it lay on the road.
Rajesh, 25, whose blurred photograph was flashed on news channels all day, continued with his daily routine and distributed milk to his customers.
“He realized that he was in trouble when he saw the news on Wednesday night and saw his blurred video of fleeing the spot. Usually he parked his vehicle outside his Mahaveer Enclave house. But after the accident, he took his tempo to a relative’s house and parked it among other vehicles,” the officer said.
Joint commissioner of police (south west) Deependra Pathak said police were now on the lookout for the rickshaw-puller who stole Matibool’s mobile phone.
“We urge Delhities to provide immediate help to accident victims and save someone’s life. In the light of a Supreme Court directive, such Samaritans are not detained or forced to disclose their identity,” Pathak said.
Police said a 2009 standing order, issued by then police commissioner, reiterates that “any person who brings an accident victim to a hospital or nursing home shall not be subjected to any harassment.”
In 2013, another senior officer noted the same in a circular distributed to all police stations in Delhi.