Mumbai: India-born US national Nooriya Haveliwala was on Thursday sentenced to five years` Rigorous Imprisonment by a special court for mowing down two persons, including a policeman, while driving her SUV under the influence of liquor in 2010.
The court, however, acquitted her of the charges under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
30-year-old Nooriya was taken into custody after the court held her guilty under IPC for rash and negligent driving and culpable homicide not amounting to murder and under Motor Vehicles Act and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
Judge IM Bohari also imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on Nooriya. Of this amount, the court ordered Rs two lakh each to be given as compensation to families of deceased police sub-inspector Dinanath Shinde, and biker Afzal Ibrahim.
Shailesh Jadhav who was seriously injured in the crash would receive Rs 50,000 while three other injured persons would receive compensation of Rs 15,000 each.
According to the prosecution, on January 30, 2010, Nooriya crashed her SUV into six persons, killing two of them, and injuring four others. Nooriya was arrested after medical reports said she was under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
Pleading mercy and lighter sentence, Nooriya told the court that she was ready to help the victims by compensating them. She said she runs an NGO and wanted to create awareness about the ill-effects of drunken driving.
Nooriya said she was young and had a 80-year-old mother to look after. Besides, she had suffered a lot of personal loss after the incident. She had shown remorse and took the injured to hospital. This reflected on her conduct.
Handing down the sentence, the judge remarked, "the deceased police sub-inspector was doing his duty along with other policemen while another deceased Afzal died very young".
"Considering the behaviour of the accused during the trial, her young age, old mother, I am of the view that a balance has to be maintained between the accused and the woes of victims," the judge of the NDPS Court said.
As the sentence was delivered, Nooriya broke down and wept.
Delivering the verdict, the Judge said, "a person driving the vehicle cannot be allowed to cause inconvenience to those moving on road."
The Judge also observed that the family had hired a driver who was working with them since seven years. Had he been on duty on that day and had Nooriya taken his services for driving the car, who knows, the mishap might not have occurred.
Nooriya had pleaded in her defence that she had not consumed drugs or alcohol. However, the court found her guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol although she was absolved under the NDPS charges.
The judge noted, "The accused had reluctantly canvassed that consumption of medicines -- Corex and Brufen -- which according to her might have brought her under the influence of morphin and cannabis constituents," the judge said.
"The alleged medicines were administered to her by her deceased father and in that eventuality no positive evidence is adduced either by the chemical analyser or by the defence to show that she had not consumed drugs but only medicines," the judge said.
"Beer tins found in the car of the accused on the contrary nullifies the defence case that medicine consumption entailed drug symptoms in the blood," he said.
Public Prosecutor Kiran Raikar demanded that the accused be given maximum punishment of ten years prescribed under the offences for which she has been held guilty.
The trial commenced in March 2012, and arguments concluded in October this year.
Police had filed a chargesheet against Nooriya for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, causing grievous hurt, rash and negligent driving, and under relevant sections of Motor Vehicles Act, the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
Later, the court framed charges against Nooriya in December 2011.
Meanwhile, Special Public Prosecutor Kiran Raikar said Nooriya might have been acquitted under NDPS charges because the police did not follow the guidelines put forth by Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court while conducting the blood tests.