Nanda lawyer urges light punishment in BMW case

August 29th, 2008 - 11:31 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 29 (IANS) Sanjeev Nanda, the prime accused in the 1999 BMW hit-and-run case, Friday urged that cases of drunken driving resulting in death be not pursued under harsh legal provisions that prescribe life term as maximum punishment. Nanda cannot be prosecuted under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) when a law commission report on the sentence to be meted out under Section 304 and section 304A is still pending, defence counsel Prem Kumar told Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Kumar, wrapping up additional arguments in the case.

Defence counsel favoured pursuing the case under 304A (causing death by rash and negligent act), which has a milder maximum punishment. The verdict in the case is likely to be delivered Sep 2.

According to the prosecution, Nanda mowed down six people, including three policemen, with his BMW car Jan 10, 1999, in Lodhi Colony area in south Delhi. The prosecution has charged Nanda, son of arms dealer Suresh Nanda, and co-accused Manik Kapoor under Section 304, which prescribes life imprisonment as maximum punishment.

The defence counsel said that it was a simple accident as the accused did not intend to kill. Prem Kumar added that while every accident is unfortunate, court decisions cannot be guided by emotions.

The prosecution has refuted the contention of the other co-accused - Rajeev Gupta, Bhola Nath and Shyam Singh, who had helped to clean the car after the accident - that they did not cause destruction of evidence as they were not aware of the incident.

While Nanda and Kapoor are charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder, Gupta and two others are accused of destroying evidence.

Judge Vinod Kumar Tuesday reserved his order, pronouncing the judgement Sep 2 after hearing the final arguments from the prosecution and defence.

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