Nanda sentencing deferred till Friday (Lead)

September 3rd, 2008 - 4:39 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 3 (IANS) A Delhi court Wednesday deferred by two days the sentencing of Sanjeev Nanda, convicted for mowing down six people under his BMW in January 1999. Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Kumar - who had Tuesday found Nanda guilty under Section 304 (2) of the Indian Penal Code for culpable homicide not amounting to murder for which the maximum sentence is 10 years - will now pronounce the quantum of sentence on Friday.

Nanda, the grandson of former navy chief S.M. Nanda and son of arms dealer Suresh Nanda, was returning in an inebriated state from a party in Gurgaon with his friends Manik Kapoor and Siddharth Gupta in the early hours of Jan 10, 1999 when he ran over six people in south Delhi’s Lodhi Colony.

In its ruling, being hailed as a landmark judgment, the court said the rich and influential had hijacked the entire criminal justice and trial system.

Public Prosecutor Rajeev Mohan has demanded the maximum punishment for Nanda, a British national, saying the verdict should give a message to society.

Mohan told the court Wednesday that the criminal justice system was being polluted by the behaviour of the convicts.

“They made every effort to hide the vehicle from public authorities (police) and they did not consider the humanitarian aspect for the injured hit by his speeding vehicle,” he argued.

The BMW car was an imported car and was not registered in India, the public prosecutor said.

Defence lawyer Ramesh Gupta countered by saying: “Justice is at stake… Ultimately judges have to decide whether it’s a media trial or a court trial.”

“Media shouldn’t exceed its limits… then judges won’t be able to decide independently on the issues,” he said, demanding reasonable punishment for the convicted. He said his clients had already paid Rs.6.5 million as compensation to the next of kin of the dead and the injured.

While the court acquitted Manik Kapoor, the other accused in the case, businessman Rajiv Gupta - whose son Siddharth was also in the car but was acquitted in August 1999 - and his two domestic helps Bhola Nath and Sham Singh were held guilty of destroying evidence.

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