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Mumbai hit-and-run: HC increases Pereira's punishment to 3 years
September 06, 2007 21:36 IST
Last Updated: September 06, 2007 22:20 IST
A businessman, who mowed down seven labourers in drunken driving in Mumbai in 2006, was given an enhanced punishment of a three-year jail term by the Bombay high court, which said he "doesn't deserve sympathy."
The high court increased the six-month jail sentence given to Alistair Pereira by the trial court after it suo motu went into the hit-and-run case following a public outcry that he was let off lightly.
The state government had also appealed against the six-month sentence.
The court asked Pereira to surrender to the police after adjourning the hearing on his bail application till Friday.
Delivering its verdict, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice Ranjana Desai said the prosecution had successfully established that Pereira was drunk when the accident happened.
The court refused to accept Pereira's defence that the car engine failed and he could not control it as its swerved to the left, crushing the labourers on the pavement.
"He drove in a reckless manner being aware of his obligation towards safety of persons sleeping on the footpath," it said, observing that the menace of rash and drunken driving needed to be checked.
Observing that it was his civil and legal duty not to drive in a drunken state, the court observed that Pereira's attitude during the incident was callous.
The vehicle of Pereira, driven in a drunken state, mowed down seven persons sleeping on the pavement at around 3.30 am on Carter Road in suburban Bandra in Mumbai on November 12, 2006.
Eight persons were also injured.
The session court gave him a six-month jail term on April 13. The high court, however, upheld the fine of Rs 5 lakh slapped on the businessman by the lower court.
The high court held that Pereira had knowledge that his act of driving in a drunken condition and that too at a high speed was likely to cause a fatal accident.
The Sewri sessions court in Mumbai, on April 13, 2007, had convicted him under IPC Section 304 (A) (rash and negligent act causing death), but acquitted him under Section 304 (II) (act done with a knowledge that it is likely to cause death, but without intention to cause death) and Section 337 (causing grievous hurt by rash and negligent act).
But the high court, in its judgment, held that he was guilty of 304 (II) and 338.
Under 304 (II), his sentence was enhanced while the fine of Rs 5 lakh imposed by the sessions court was confirmed.
No prejudice was caused to Pereirar due to any of the procedural lapses on the part of the prosecution, it held.
The high court held that prosecution had successfully proven that Pereira was drunk when the accident happened, as per the medical reports.