Strong punishment to Nanda could deter drunken driving: activist

September 2nd, 2008 - 8:38 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 2 (IANS) A strong punishment for Sanjeev Nanda, found guilty in the BMW hit-and-run case, would serve as a strong deterrent against drunk drivers who are responsible for a large number of deaths in India, said an activist Monday.”I am relieved at this stance taken by the court as the offender has been booked under section 304(II) rather than section 304(a), which is a lenient clause with a maximum punishment of only two years,” Prince Singhal told IANS.

The quantum of punishment would be decided Wednesday.

“I hope tomorrow’s verdict would start a positive trend towards prosecution of drunk driving,” Singhal added.

Singhal is the founder of the Campaign Against Drunken Driving Movement in India. The campaign, launched seven years ago, is active in seven states.

Nanda was found guilty of mowing down six people, including three policemen, in the wee hours of Jan 10, 1999 in the Lodhi Colony in south Delhi.

“India faces nearly 90,000 deaths and nearly 300,000 accidents annually on account of drunken driving. We look forward to this verdict being an exemplary one that would serve as a strong deterrent to other drunk drivers,” Singhal added.

He hoped the court would sentence Nanda at least to rigorous imprisonment of seven years.

“As the accused was an underage drinker at the time of the incident, so there should be mandatory community service awarded. Also, all those responsible for faulty investigations and the hostile witnesses should be punished,” he said.

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