Judge rejects rain alibi in accident case,makes trader pay up

It’s hard to fashion an alibi in an accident case,especially when there is an eyewitness,but that didn’t stop a Delhi businessman from trying his best.

Written by Jayant Sriram | New Delhi | Published: January 23, 2012 2:55:34 am

It’s hard to fashion an alibi in an accident case,especially when there is an eyewitness,but that didn’t stop a Delhi businessman from trying his best.

In order to avoid paying compensation to the victim’s family,the man made an associate tell a court that he was held up by heavy rain and could not have been at the scene of the accident. Unfortunately for him,the judge did not buy the story and ordered him to pay compensation of nearly Rs 22 lakh.

The Motor Accident Claim Tribunal (MACT) court was hearing a claim filed by the family of the victim,Dr Anil Khanna,who was allegedly hit by businessman Mahesh Mundra’s Maruti Esteem in Lajpat Nagar in 2003. Khanna was admitted to a hospital,where he succumbed to injuries. The accident was seen by a man named Tilak Raj who appeared as a prosecution witness.

During arguments,Mundra’s business associate,Sandeep Baraja,told the court that due to heavy rain,Mundhra had stayed back in his office late on the day of the accident and,hence,and could not have been at the accident spot.

To this,MACT Judge Nirja Bhatia asked Baraja what was so specific about the date of the accident that he was able to remember that there was heavy rain on that day. She also asked him to tell the court any other specific date on which he could remember seeing heavy rain. To both the questions,Baraja couldn’t give an answer.

The court also ruled it was unlikely that Baraja would remember such a long meeting on that specific date when he admitted to having many such business dealings with Mundra. “There is an element of closeness and personal trust existing between the witness and the respondent which flow from relations reflecting more intimacy than mere business relations. In view of the above circumstances,the court has to be extremely cautious in accepting the plea of an alibi,” the judge said.

While awarding compensation to Khanna’s family,the court noted the insurance company’s argument that Mundra had been driving his vehicle without a valid licence. The judge ruled that while the company is liable to pay compensation to the petitioners,it could recover the same from the owner of the car.

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