The Supreme Court on Wednesday acquitted three persons sentenced to varying jail terms for tampering with evidence in the infamous 1999 BMW hit-and-run case, involving former Naval chief Admiral S M Nanda's grandson Sanjeev Nanda.
A bench of justices Deepak Verma and K S Radhakrishnan set aside the trial court and the Delhi high court concurring verdicts convicting businessman Rajeev Gupta and his two employees Bhola Nath and Shyam Singh.
Rajeev Gupta was sentenced to six months in jail while his employees were awarded three-month imprisonment.
The apex court has already reserved its verdict on a plea against the Delhi High Court order, which had reduced Sanjeev Nanda's sentence from five years to two years.
The apex court, meanwhile, also pulled up the Delhi police for not properly investigating the tampering of evidence.
Pointing out various drawbacks in the probe, the bench said the evidence in the case does not conclusively establish that they tampered with the evidence.
"No credible evidence was recorded by the prosecution to show who washed the (BMW) car (immediately after the accident to remove blood stains)," the bench said.
The court also questioned as to why the Delhi police did not lift fingerprints from the car to establish who had tried to destroy the evidence.
The Delhi high court had in July 2009 reduced Nanda's sentence from five to two years in jail after holding he could not have had the knowledge that the tragedy could strike by his rash and negligent driving.
Nanda was behind the wheels when he had mowed down six persons, including three policemen, with his BMW car on January 10, 1999.
The high court had modified the trial court's order by holding him guilty under Section 304-A (causing death due to rash and negligent act) and acquitting him of Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder).
It had also reduced by half the quantum of sentence given to three co-accused -- businessman Rajeev Gupta and his two employees Bhola Nath and Shyam Singh -- who were convicted for destruction of evidence in the case.
Gupta was sentenced to six months prison term, as against the one year awarded by the trial court, while his two employees were awarded three months jail term from their six months sentence.