After 18 hours of delay in arresting the accused of Tuesdays night hit-and run case,in which two persons died including a a seven-year-old boy,a number of discrepancies and contradictions have come to the fore between the police and eyewitness version of the incident.
Questions are also being raised about the way police are handling the case. From slapping bailable offences on the accused and delaying medical examination of 19-year-old Sukhmani Brar alias Amanat,to taking no action against her friends and dismissing the race theory,the police have been accused of being soft on the accused.
The police have already ruled out the race theory,which Sarabjit Singh,the lone eyewitness in the case,has been insisting. He said Brar was at the wheel of the Honda Accord car and was racing with the Swift car at breakneck speedand it hit the motorbike resulting in the death of Sukhwinder and Harpreet. The police,on the other hand said,the Swift reached the spot when Brar called her friends Armandeep and Rahul; after the accident. The two men dropped Brar and her friend Harsimar at their residences.
The cars were not racing. The Swift car came into the picture after the accident. The men came only after they were called,and they fled in the car, said DSP Jagbir Singh.
I was trailing behind and saw the Honda Accord desperately trying to overtake the Swift car. It was about to sweep pass the Swift when it collided with the scooter near the Chandigarh Club. There is no way I can believe that the girl called her friends after the accident. She disappeared from the spot within seconds in the Swift,said Sarabjit.
According to legal experts (see quotes),the accident is a fit case of culpable homicide not mounting to murder where Section 304 IPC should have been slapped on the accused. The police have imposed section 304 A of the IPC in the case (causing death due to negligence) which is bailable offence.
The girl had no intention to kill the accused. Its a case of reckless driving and the appropriate sections have been imposed, said Mahavir Singh,SHO,Sector-3 police station.
Section 164 of the criminal procedure makes the prosecutions case stronger and will not allow witnesses to turn hostile. The police have also not taken any action against Colonel B S Brar who misled the police on Wednesday saying it was his driver who was driving the vehicle. Later,he took a U-turn and said he was sorry for whatever happened and brought his niece Sukhmani to the police station,where she surrendered.
Even as the police questioned Armandeep,Rahul and Harsimar on Thursday,no action has been taken against them for shielding the accused. The police said the sections of harbouring an accused are imposed when the punishment in the case is more than 10 years. Armandeep and Rahul had helped Sukhmani to escape from the spot,which delayed the investigation.
We are still examining and questioning all those involved. Investigations are not over yet, said UT SSP S S Srivastava.
Meanwhile,Sukhmani today deposited her license with the police.
No racing angle in FIR
The blatant display of shielding the accused could well be seen from the facts that Chandigarh Police did not even include the material facts of the accident in the FIR.
* The FIR is silent on the fact that the two cars were racing
* It does not mention in which car the two girls escaped from the crime site
Brar rejects atonement measures
Colonel Brar,grandfather of Sukhmani Brar,arrested for the death of two persons in an accident,on Thursday rejected an appeal by Advocate H C Arora to adopt atonement measures. Brar said accidents can happen with anyone. Arora had suggested that the accused should serve langar to the families and attendants of patients in hospital in Chandigarh for at least 15 days and deposit adequate compensation (at least Rs 5 lakh) with the Chandigarh administration or the trial court to the family of the victims. Brar said in accidents,both sides are generally at fault,and it is the victim’s family who gets sympathy of the public. He added,the victims did not wear helmet while riding a motorcycle and did not have driving licence.