Pune minor’s family tried to pin blame on their driver: Cops | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Pune minor’s family tried to pin blame on their driver: Cops

May 25, 2024 06:14 AM IST

Family of the 17-year-old suspect tried to tamper with evidence and blame their driver, according to the Pune Police Commissioner.

Attempts were made by the family of the 17-year-old suspect, who mowed down two people in a high-speed crash in a sports car over the weekend, to tamper with evidence and pin the blame for the crime on a driver in their employment, the Pune Police chief said on Friday.

The Porsche car found without number plate in Pune. (PTI)
The Porsche car found without number plate in Pune. (PTI)

Five days since the incident, which claimed the lives of two techies, new revelations further fanned outrage over the seemingly special treatment that the prime suspect, the minor son of a real-estate developer, received in the initial hours of the investigation.

Police Commissioner Amitesh Kumar confirmed that there had been lapses at the police station level, as the state police announced it suspended inspector Rahul Jagdale and assistant police inspector Vishwanath Todkar from Yerwada police station.

The accused is the minor son of a real-estate developer.
The accused is the minor son of a real-estate developer.

The two cops landed up at the spot within 15 minutes of the crash at 3am on Sunday, but seniors of the department learnt about it much after through social media.

The case has now been handed over to the Maharashtra crime branch, Kumar announced.

Kumar also confirmed attempts by the accused’s family to have their driver Gangaram Pujari take the blame. “During the initial investigation, the driver claimed that he was behind the wheel. Now we are investigating if there are more people who may have influenced the driver,” Kumar said, and added that charges for destruction of evidence under Section 201 of the IPC will be added against those found involved in attempting to tamper evidence.

HT reported on Friday that the driver employed by the family told the 17-year-old he was too drunk to get behind the wheel and called the boy’s father, who asked the chauffeur to “let him drive”.

Kumar did not respond to requests on whether such a claim was made during the testimony.

At the time of the accident, four people, including Pujari were in the car, a Porsche Taycan. Police have collected the CCTV footage and seized all documentary evidence from the house of the accused till the accident spot, which showed the minor was at the wheel. “This is not a case of negligent driving but a case of ‘drink and drive’. The accused was fully aware of the consequences of driving under the influence of liquor. Even then he drove at full speed through the narrow lane (in Kalyaninagar) and claimed two lives,” Kumar said.

The officer added that investigators are relying on several evidences to establish that the minor was drunk, despite two blood tests showing normal blood alcohol levels.

Asked about blood samples that came up negative for alcohol, Kumar said the juvenile was sent to Sassoon Hospital around 9am on Sunday after an offence was registered. “There was a delay in taking blood samples as they were collected at 11pm but the blood report is not the pillar of our case,” he said.

“We have the CCTV footage of him (juvenile) drinking liquor in the pub,” Kumar said. “He was fully in his senses. He had full knowledge that due to his conduct, such an accident, where section 304 is applicable, can happen.”

Sunday night’s incident triggered outrage especially since conditions said the minor was required to work with Yerwada traffic police for 15 days and write an essay on the accident.

However, once spotlight grew on the case, the law enforcement agency decided to approach the juvenile justice board (JJB) to allow the suspect to be treated as an adult.

Kumar appeared to put much of the blame on the initial police response on the Yerwada station. “Our initial investigation revealed lapses at the police station level. We have appointed an ACP-level officer to investigate it in detail, following which appropriate action will be taken on the officers.” The CP added, “The officers had neither informed seniors nor the control room.”

The teenager’s father and five others, including the owner and employees of two liquor-serving establishments where the teenager allegedly consumed alcohol, were remanded to judicial custody until June 7.

With the magisterial custody being granted, the accused have become eligible to obtain bail and will be lodged in Yerawada central jail instead of the police station lock up.

The police also invoked IPC Section 420 for cheating and forgery, since the father moved the registration application of the Porsche car before the RTO authorities on the day of the accident but the procedure could not be completed.

Earlier on Friday, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, who has been missing from public life since the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections, said: “The guilty should be punished as the law is equal for all regardless of social status.”

Also censuring Pune police soon after the incident, Congress MLA from Kasbapeth, Ravindra Dhangekar, pointed out how the department initially invoked only Section 304 (A), which allowed the minor to get bail easily, but later invoked the more stringent Section 304, under public pressure. “This clearly shows how police are trying to save the builder’s son,” said Dhangekar.

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