Delhi HC reduces Nanda's jail term to 2 years

Delhi HC reduces Nanda's jail term to 2 years

Sanjeev Nanda, the prime accused in the BMW hit-and-run case.

Justice Kailash Gambhir  convicted Nanda, grandson of former Naval Chief S M Nanda,  under 304A (causing death by rash and negligent act) of the IPC which carries a maximum punishment of two years. Nanda had mowed down six persons, including three policemen, with his speeding BMW car in 1999.

The court also reduced by half the quantum of sentence against three others –– businessmen Rajeev Gupta and his two employees, Bhola Nath and Shyam Singh–– who were punished for destruction of evidence. However, the court ordered for initiation of criminal prosecution against controversial witness Sunil Kulkarni, for misleading the court by giving false testimony.

Gupta was sentenced to a six-month prison term from one year awarded by a trial court. 
The court turned down Nanda’s plea that he should be acquitted in the case as he had disbursed lakhs of rupees to the families of the victims as compensation. “If he was really so compassionate towards the victims, why did he take to his heels after causing the accident, knowing fully well the enormity of the casualty?” the court observed. “One also cannot lose sight of the fact that every possible effort was made to destroy the evidence, to win over the witness and to influence the prosecution and the police,” the court added.

The court, however, took a lenient attitude towards Nanda, saying that he had already undergone trauma and agony and faced trial for nine years, which must have affected his life, including his education, career and marriage.

Considering all circumstances, the court convicted him under the milder Section 304 A (causing death by rash or negligent act) instead of holding him guilty under Section 304 (Part II) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the IPC. Nanda has been in jail for more than 22 months immediately after the accident and after the lower court convicted him.

The Nanda case

* Nanda had drunkenly mowed down 6 men in his BMW as he returned home with friends from a late-night party in New Delhi.
* Three of the victims were homeless people sleeping on the pavement
* The others were policemen manning a checkpoint.

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