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BMW hit & run: Nanda's sentencing on September 5
September 03, 2008 20:26 IST
The counsel for Sanjeev Nanda, convicted by a Delhi [Images] court in the 1999 BMW [Images] hit-and-run case, on Wednesday sought his release on probation, highlighting the good work done by him in Tihar jail by conducting English and computer classes for inmates.
Public prosecutor Rajeev Mohan, on the other hand, sought the maximum punishment of 10 years for the convict, saying it was the need of the hour to send the right message to the society.
At the end of the arguments of sentence, the court put off the pronouncement of sentence till September 5.
Nanda, grandson of former Naval Chief Admiral S M Nanda and son of arms dealer Suresh Nada, who was on Tuesday held guilty under stringent penal provisions of the IPC, was seen fighting hard to control tears during the two-hour long arguments on sentence.
Advancing the arguments, Nanda's counsel Prem Kumar said, "He played an instrumental role in imparting computer education and teaching English to the inmates of Tihar jail. This fact should be considered while awarding the sentence against him."
"It must not be forgotten that he belonged to an illustrious family, which not only contributed to the armed forces but also helped the Indian economy with its business activities," he said.
"Nanda's age at the time of incident and the exemplary record during the trial, even inside the Tihar jail, and his ordeal of being subjected to the protracted prosecution should also be considered," he told the court.
The court had convicted Nanda under Section 304 part-II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the IPC for mowing down six persons, including three policemenin the wee hours of January 10, 1999.
Besides Nanda, businessman Rajeev Gupta and his two employees -- Bholanath and Shyam Singh -- were held guilty of causing disappearance of evidence, warranting maximum jail term of three years, for washing the blood stains and pieces of victims' flesh from the BMW car involved in the accident.
During the arguments, the public prosecutor, who also referred to the adverse findings of court against Nanda in the 87-page verdict, said the criminal justice system had been tampered with by the mighty accused, who resorted to unfair means to botch up the trial.
Nanda's counsel Ramesh Gupta opposed the contentions of the prosecutor and alleged "It was a case of media trial. Some sections of the media projected Nanda as a culprit from the very beginning. In case of acquittal in this case, they could have said that it was a miscarriage of justice."
"Only convictions please them. It's high time everybody should sit up as justice is at stake," he said, adding how could the fact that Nanda was merely of 19 years at the time of the incident be ignored.
Citing various apex court decisions, he said, it was a fit case in which the convict could be given the benefit of the Probation of Offender Act.
"Not only that, we have given Rs 65 lakh as compensation to the families of the six deceased and one survivor. This fact should also be borne in mind while awarding the punishment to him," he said and pleaded for a lenient approach.
He said, "It's not a crime to be a rich man. Various prejudices have already been caused as the police have resorted to malicious prosecution."
"I feel that the precious time of this court has been wasted by me during the final arguments as most of the issues did not find a mention in the judgment," Gupta said.
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