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How Pune teen's family tried to coerce driver to take blame

Last updated on: May 25, 2024 22:53 IST

Pune police on Saturday arrested the grandfather of the 17-year-old involved in a car crash here that killed two persons while claiming that both the teenager's father and grandfather put pressure on the family's driver to take blame for accident by offering him money and giving threats.

IMAGE: Pune police commissioner Amitesh Kumar. Photograph: ANI on X

The teenager's grandfather was arrested for 'illegal confinement' of the driver, and a court subsequently remanded him in police custody till May 28.

The minor's father, in judicial custody in another case registered in connection with the May 19 accident, too was named in the first information report (FIR).


"After the accident, the driver gave a statement at the Yerawada police station that he was at the wheel....But it was revealed that a teen was driving the car," police commissioner Amitesh Kumar told reporters.

After the driver left the Yerawada police station, the teenager's father, realtor Vishal Agarwal and his grandfather whisked him in a car to his house on the premises of their bungalow, confiscated his phone and confined him there, the senior police official said.

"He was pressured to give a statement to police as per their directions," Kumar said, adding that the driver was offered gifts and cash for owning up the crash of the Porsche driven by the teenager, and also threatened.

The driver's wife reached the place the next day and freed him, said the commissioner.

"The driver was frightened. He was summoned and his statement was recorded on Thursday (May 23). After corroboration of facts, an offence was registered against the juvenile's father and grandfather (on the driver's complaint)," Kumar said.

Vishal Agarwal and his father were booked under Indian Penal Code sections 365 (kidnapping) and 368 (wrongfully concealing or keeping in confinement).

The driver gave a statement to the police saying he was not driving the car when it knocked down two IT professionals on a motorbike in Kalyani Nagar area of the city in the early hours of May 19, the commissioner said.

The driver and his family will be provided police protection, Kumar added.

Investigation so far has shown that the juvenile, while being drunk, was driving the car, the commissioner had said earlier.

While seeking custody of the teenager's grandfather in the sessions court on Saturday, the prosecution said the police had recovered DVR (digital video recorder) of CCTV footage from the house of the accused, and the probe indicated that the footage was tampered with.

The court was also informed about past offences registered against the grandfather at police stations in Kondhwa, Bundgarden in Pune and another at Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra.

Opposing police custody, defence lawyer Prashant Patil argued that the driver was in the car at the time of the accident, and denied the allegation that he was wrongfully confined in the house.

"As there was an outcry over the incident, the driver chose to go to the servant quarters at the bungalow of the accused on his own and stayed there till next day. There is no question of the driver getting threatened," Patil claimed, adding that the accused grandfather was with the police since he landed in Pune on the morning of May 19.

On Friday, an inspector and another official attached to the Yerwada police station were suspended for delayed reporting of the offence and dereliction of duty.

The teenager was earlier granted bail by the Juvenile Justice Board which also asked him to write an essay on road accidents, but following outrage over the lenient treatment and a review application by the police, he was sent to an observation home till June 5.

His father was booked under the Juvenile Justice Act for 'exposing a child to danger' by handing over the car to him while knowing that he had no driving license.

Parents of Anish Awadhiya and Ashwini Koshta, the 24-year-old techies from Madhya Pradesh who were killed in the accident, have demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe in the case.

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