New Delhi: Police on Friday quizzed prominent industrialist Anil Nanda on the death of his driver after the latter in his dying declaration accused him and his associates of setting him on fire allegedly for protesting sexual exploitation of young boys.
After keeping silent on the matter for three days, police swung into action after a TV channel Thursday showed the dying driver, Janeshwar Sharma, making the allegations and after the National Human Rights Commission asked the police to submit a report on the matter.
Sharma, 45, was admitted to the Safdarjung Hospital June 9 with 80 percent burns. The former armyman died a week later on June 15. Although a case of murder was registered by the police, no one has been arrested in the case so far.
Police sources said that Nanda was Friday quizzed in his C-12 New Friends Colony house about the allegations made by Sharma and his family. "We have questioned him (Nanda) and 20 others in the case. We have also questioned all the employees who work in his residence," a police official told IANS on condition of anonymity.
According to police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat, investigations are on in the case and the additional commissioner (southeast district) Virendra Singh Chahal is himself probing the matter.
"We are acting according to the information given by the victim and his brother. As per the earlier allegation levelled by the victim, he did not name Nanda and his associates. It was only later that his brother produced two letters before us in which the victim had alleged that he was threatened by Nanda and his associates," Bhagat said when asked why the police did not begin their investigations earlier.
Anil Nanda is the younger brother of Rajen Nanda, who owns Escorts Hospital. He is married to Ritu, the eldest daughter of the late filmmaker Raj Kapoor. Their son Nikhil Nanda is married to Shweta, the daughter of Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan.
Asked whether the dying declaration of the victim would be considered in the case, Bhagat added that once the investigations are complete it would be taken into consideration to move further in the case.
An NHRC spokesperson told IANS that they would be sending a notice to Delhi Police on the matter. "We are planning to send a notice in this regard to the Delhi police," a NHRC spokesperson told IANS. Sharma's relatives had approached NHRC.
Sharma has alleged that Nanda along with his business partner Jitender Pandey and manager Dheeraj Balani set him on fire when he protested against the sexual exploitation of boys at Nanda's residence. The incident took place at Nanda's residence.
The deceased was working for over two years at Nanda's residence.
Talking to IANS, Sharma's brother Yogesh said he would fight till he gets justice.
"I want death for all the accused in the case," he said, adding that his brother had told him that Nanda and his associates were threatening him for the past many days.
"We wrote several letters to the top officials of Delhi Police, including the Delhi Police Commissioner but nobody paid any attention. A case was only registered when my brother was set on fire," he added.
His counsel Sudhir Kumar told IANS they would move the sessions court if the police fail to take action.
"We have the dying declaration of Sharma in which he has clearly mentioned that Nanda and his associates tried to kill him by setting him on fire. We will also file a revision application in the court if police do not name all the accused persons in the FIR," he said.
Sharma further revealed that he was forced to spy on Anil Nanda’s business partner Vijay Sinha despite his reluctance to do so. He also claimed that he was threatened of dire consequences, which included his dismissal from services, if he refused to execute the task assigned to him.
Sharma also gave on-camera details about Anil Nanda’s dangerous nature and about his sexual misconducts. While lying in the hospital bed, Sharma claimed that Nanda was a gay who asked for boys to be supplied to him. He also alleged that male employees were paid by Nanda for having sex with him, and all those who refused to oblige their master were threatened.
Recalling the sequence of event on June 09, Sharma alleged that three of Nanda’s close associates poured some kerosene on him from the back and set him ablaze. He, however, could not see the faces of the assailants, who according to him were "murderous people".
With nearly 80% burns, Sharma was first admitted in Apollo Hospital on June 09, and then shifted to Safdarjung Hospital. An FIR against unidentified assailants was also registered by Nanda’s staff members.
Nanda is the chairman of Akme Projects which has various projects in the national capital and also in Ludhiana, Goa and Bangalore.
First Published: Friday, June 18, 2010, 21:22