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BMW case: Police challenges Nanda’s punishment cut in SC

Last Updated: Monday, April 12, 2010 - 20:43

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today said it
would give a preliminary hearing in July to the petition filed
by Delhi Police challenging the High Court`s reducing the
punishment of Sanjeev Nanda for mowing down six persons with
his BMW car a decade ago after the prosecution argued for
enhancing the sentence for him.

The police has appealed against the July 20, 2009,
verdict of the Delhi High Court which set aside the trial
court`s conviction under the stringent provision of culpable
homicide not amounting to murder under section 304 (part II)
that carried punishment upto 10 years prison term and handed
down just a two-year term.

The High Court had convicted Nanda, 31, grandson
of former Naval Chief S M Nanda, under 304A (causing death by
rash and negligent act) of IPC which carries a maximum
punishment of two years.

Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium, who assailed the
High Court verdict for treating the offence as "rash and
negilgent" act, contended the incident resulting in the death
of the persons should have been considered along with section
86 of the IPC, the effect of which has been overlooked.

He said since the accused was in an intoxicated state,
the High Court under section 86 should have attributed to him
the knowledge of committing the offence.

"The test adopted by the High Court is wrong," he
submitted before a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G
Balakrishnan and Justices Deepak Verma and B S Chauhan which
issued a notice to Nanda.

"I want examination of the matter. I am on the
question of principle. I am on the question of law," he said
amidst protests from senior advocates Ram Jethmalani and Mukul
Rohatgi who were appearing for Nanda.

Jethmalani said not only the appeal by the Delhi
police was time-barred but also a frivolous one to harass a
young man who got married after the prosecution did not file
the appeal for 180 days after the High Court verdict.

However, the Bench, which wanted to examine the question
of law, pacified Nanda`s counsel by saying it was not issuing
any warrant against him. Further, it said the delay in filing
the appeal was only of 51 days.

"We will post for preliminary hearing in July," the
Bench said.

Rohatgi said the court can examine the question of law
but not at the expense of Nanda who suffered the ordeal for
10 years.

"The court may examine the question of law but it should
have no affect on respondent. I don` want the sword hanging
over my head for another 10 years," he submitted.

His submission that the court should make clear that the
result of the ruling will not have any effect on Nanda was not
appreciated by the Bench which said "how can we say so"?

After the High Court verdict, Nanda served around five
months in the jail. After his arrest in 1999, Nanda had been
in prison for nine months and another 10 months after he was
convicted by the trial court in 2008.

The High Court had also upheld the conviction of three
others -- businessman Rajeev Gupta and his two employees Bhola
Nath and Shyam Singh -- for destruction of evidence but halved
their jail term.

Gupta`s sentence was reduced to six months prison term
from one year awarded by a trial court. His two employees were
awarded three months jail term, down from their six months

Nanda`s plea that he should be awarded less than two
years of prison term on the ground that he had already
disbursed Rs 65 lakh as compensation to the victims` family
had not found favour from the court. PTI

First Published: Monday, April 12, 2010 - 20:43

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