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Australia offers reward for fugitive Indian driver

August 07, 2012 11:01 IST

Australian police have announced a reward of over US$ 100,000 on an Indian man who killed a student in Melbourne almost four years ago, before fleeing the country.

Puneet, a 19-year-old who was learning to drive, lost control of his vehicle. HeĀ  hit students Dean Hofstee and Clancy Cloker who were walking along City Road in Southbank in October, 2008.

Hofstee, 19, was killed instantly while Cloker suffered critical injuries. Both were students visiting Melbourne from Queensland.

The US$ 105,864.87 is now being offered for information that will lead to Puneet's arrest and return to Australia.

Assistant Commissioner Robert Hill said this is the first time that a reward has been offered in relation to a traffic offence.

"We believe that there are people both in Australia and India who can provide information in relation to Puneet's whereabouts," he said, adding, "It is also our belief that he is still in India at this time and we are working closely with AFP (Australian Federal Police) counterparts on this matter".

Australia will not seek Puneet's extradition until he is arrested or brought before an Indian court.

Puneet pleaded guilty to culpable driving after recording a blood alcohol reading of 0.165

He fled to India using a friend's passport just before he was due to face court in 2009 and police believe he is still living there.

The friend was jailed for two-and-a-half years for subverting the course of justice.

Natasha Chaku In Melbourne
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