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Ghaziabad: Prime accused in Audi crash case gets off conspiracy charge

Audi owner Rawat, Syed Imtiyaz Qadri and his case pursuer Raj Kumar have been named as accused in the case.

noida Updated: Jan 27, 2018 23:07 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times
Audi,crash,Hindon
On the intervening night of January 27 and 28, 2017, the Audi Q7, owned by Dr Manish Rawat, collided head-on with an autorickshaw near Hindon canal in Indirapuram. (Sakib Ali/HT File Photo)

A year on, the Audi Q7 crash incident that killed four in Ghaziabad has thrown up questions that remain unanswered as in the chargesheet, the Ghaziabad crime branch has charged the main accused, Dr Manish Rawat, of rash driving and causing death by negligence but not for the conspiracy to commit impersonation.

Family members of the accident victims and the person who was impersonated said the chargesheet has been diluted and they have been pressured several times to settle the case.

Audi owner Rawat, Syed Imtiyaz Qadri and his case pursuer Raj Kumar have been named as accused in the case.

The framing of charges in the case is yet to come up in the court.

On the intervening night of January 27 and 28, 2017, the Audi Q7, owned by Rawat, collided head-on with an autorickshaw near Hindon canal in Indirapuram.

The crash killed Kanpur-based businessman Yajuvendra Singh, 40, his engineer cousin Vishal Singh and their family friend Rinku Yadav, who was working with HCL, Noida. Vishal had come to attend a job interview arranged by Rinku.

The three were from the same locality in Kanpur and met with the accident when they were heading to Noida after dinner at a relative’s place in Vasundhara. The autorickshaw driver Sanjeev Kumar was also killed. At the time, his wife was seven months pregnant and he also had a minor daughter.

The first responders to the incident, the Indirapuram police, found four bodies, a damaged autorickshaw and an abandoned Audi at the accident site.

An interesting sequence of events unfolded over the next
few days.

On January 31, 2017, a man who called himself Ishaq Ahmad, of Bareilly, surrendered before a Ghaziabad court and claimed to be the driver of the Audi. He was released on bail.

However, teams of Hindustan Times in Ghaziabad and Bareilly found that the man who surrendered in the court was, in fact, one Syed Imtiyaz Qadri, who was a tempo driver in Bareilly.

Qadri had misused the documents of his former co-tenant and truck driver, Ishaq Ahmad, and impersonated him in the court.

Qadri’s case pursuer Raj Kumar, another Bareilly resident, had accompanied him to the Ghaziabad court to provide surety. Kumar is also an accused in this case.

It was found that Ahmad was transporting goods in Gujarat when the incident took place.

“My husband (Qadri) was paid ₹7,000 by a Bareilly-based lawyer for appearing in the court. He was never in Ghaziabad and had never been the driver of the doctor’s car, as claimed. He was lured due to our poor financial condition. When he returned from the court and told me about the surrender, I scolded him for what he had done,” Ayesha, Qadri’s wife, who is now working as a daily wager in Maharashtra to feed her two minor children, said.

“There is a lot of pressure on Qadri to admit that he was driving the car, but he has said that he will not repeat the mistakes and will tell the truth in the court,” she said.

After Qadri’s impersonation was discovered, the Ghaziabad police followed him but he fled Bareilly along with his family.

Two months later, in April, Qadri surfaced again. This time, he was arrested by Maharashtra police in connection with petty robberies.

Qadri is still in jail for the alleged crimes he had committed in Maharashtra.

Following Qadri’s surrender at Ghaziabad court in January, Rawat, a neurosurgeon, appeared before the police on February 6, 2017, for the first time since the accident and claimed that his driver ‘Ishaq Ahmad’ was driving the car.

Rawat had also told police that ‘Ahmad’ had worked as his driver for a couple of months during Rawat’s posting in Bareilly. The doctor said the same ‘Ahmad’ was employed by him again a fortnight before the accident.

The chargesheet, however, states that it was Dr Rawat who was driving the Audi on the night of the accident. The doctor has been chargesheeted by the crime branch for rash driving and causing death by negligence.

The chargesheet, however, puts the entire blame of the impersonation and forgery of documents on co-accused Raj Kumar and Qadri.

Rawat’s lawyer, Subodh Tyagi, said, “We are not in agreement with the chargesheet filed and we will challenge it.”

It is mentioned in the chargesheet that as per the call detail records, neither Qadri nor Ishaq Ahmad was found at the location of the accident site. Only Rawat’s location was found at the site, it states.

“The chargesheet has failed to reveal the conspiracy behind Qadri’s surrender at the Ghaziabad court. Qadri would not suddenly come out of nowhere and claim that he drove the car that killed my three children and the auto driver. The chargesheet has laid the entire blame on Qadri, who was just brought into the picture as a scapegoat,” Sunita Sengar, the mother of Yajuvendra Singh, said.

“This conspiracy is the backbone of the case. It has made the case complicated. I went to meet chief minister Yogi in Lucknow, wrote a letter to the Prime Minister’s Office and repeatedly asked the Ghaziabad police to nab the conspirator but no one paid heed. The chargesheet has let us down. During the course of the investigation, we were approached by lawyers and influential people to settle the case but I did not do so,” she said.

Superintendent of police (crime), Ghaziabad, declined to comment on the issue on the basis that the case was before his posting in Ghaziabad.

The police chief of Ghaziabad said the victim families have a remedy available under the law.

“If the families of the victims find the chargesheet unconvincing or lacking, they can file objections in the appropriate court. The court has the power to order a reinvestigation or to take appropriate action in the matter,” HN Singh, senior superintendent of police, Ghaziabad, said.

The police chargesheet has also left out Jaipal Singh and Ishaq Ahmad from the list of witnesses in the case.

Singh was the first investigation officer (IO) of the crime branch who had conducted the majority of the investigation in Ghaziabad and Bareilly before he retired and a new IO filed the chargesheet.

The chargesheet has also ignored the role of two persons who appeared as sureties for Qadri when he surrendered in Ghaziabad.

The two are residents of Olive County high-rise in Ghaziabad where Dr Rawat was also
residing.

“It is surprising that my documents were misused and Qadri told me how he was lured and offered money to surrender in the case,” Ishaq Ahmad, the truck driver from Bareilly, said.

“My name does not figure among the list of witnesses. I even filed a complaint with Bareilly police but they routed me to Ghaziabad and the complaint was finally made a part of the investigation by IO Jaipal Singh,” Ahmad said.

First Published: Jan 27, 2018 23:07 IST