July 20, 2009 4:32:25 pm
In a major reprieve for BMW hit-and-run case convict Sanjeev Nanda,the Delhi High Court on Monday reduced his punishment from five to two years in jail after holding he could not have the knowledge that the tragedy could strike by his rash and negligent driving. Nanda was behind the wheels as he mowed down six persons,including three policemen,with his BMW car on January 10,1999.
Pronouncing the verdict in a packed courtroom,Justice Kailash Gambhir said that though the incident was gruesome, it could not be held that it occurred within the knowledge of Nanda. The court modified the trial court order by holding him guilty under Section 304-A (causing death due to rash and negligent act) and acquitting him of Section 304 (Culpable homicide not amounting to murder).
The court also reduced by half the quantum of sentence against three others — businessmen Rajeev Gupta and his two employees Bhola Nath and Shyam Singh,who were punished for destruction of evidence in the case. Gupta was sentenced to six months prison term from one year awarded by a trial court. His two employees were awarded three months jail term from their six months sentence.
Tightening the noose around controversial eye-witness Sunil Kulkarni,who had kept the trial court judge on his toes by his frequent flip-flops,Justice Gambhir ordered for launching the prosecution against him under the perjury charge.
The family of 31-year-old Nanda was present in the court to hear the verdict and expressed their elation and satisfaction over the judgment. Nandas father and a known arms dealer Suresh Nanda told the Indian Express,The law has taken its course and we are now looking forward to his release from the prison.
Nanda,31,the grandson of former naval chief S M Nanda,has been in jail since September five last year after being sentenced to five-year jail term by the trial court,barring a few weeks of interim bail.
The legal proceeding in this high-profile case saw many twists and turns with not only court hearings but also out-of-court developments in the case grabbing the headlines for different reasons.
The case saw key witnesses turning hostile and Nanda’s counsel R K Anand and former Special Public Prosecutor I U Khan being found guilty of obstruction of justice,following a TV sting that showed Kulkarni with them.
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