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Pune teen's aunt moves HC challenging his detention

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
June 14, 2024 22:01 IST
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A paternal aunt of the teenager allegedly involved in the Pune Porsche car crash that killed two IT professionals last month has moved the Bombay high court claiming the boy was in 'illegal' detention and sought his immediate release.

IMAGE: The Porsche car that kills two at Kalyani Nagar in Pune, May 19, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

The woman, in her habeas corpus (produce the person) plea, has sought immediate release of the 17-year-old boy, who is currently lodged at an observation home in Pune.

The petition said no matter from what perception this unfortunate incident is looked at, it was an accident and the person who was said to be driving the vehicle was a minor.


The petition, filed on June 10, came up for hearing before a division bench of Justices Bharati Dangre and Manjusha Deshpande on Friday.

A habeas corpus petition is filed to ensure a person under arrest is brought before a court which determines whether the detention is legal.

Public Prosecutor Hiten Venegaonkar, representing the Pune police, challenged the maintainability of the petition and argued the boy was in legal custody in the observation home.

Senior advocate Aabad Ponda, representing the petitioner, sought the urgent release of the boy.

After the arguments, the bench posted the hearing on the plea for June 20.

In the early hours of May 19, the juvenile was allegedly driving a Porsche car at a very high speed in an intoxicated state when it crashed into a motorbike, killing two software engineers -- Aneesh Awadhiya and Ashwini Koshta -- in Pune's Kalyani Nagar area.

The boy's aunt, in the plea, claimed because of public uproar coupled with political agenda, the police deviated from the right course of investigation in the case, thus defeating the entire purpose of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act.

'The intent of the law is abundantly clear and there cannot be any iota of doubt that the most important factor and the crucial element is the well-being of a minor child who is in conflict with law,' the petition said.

The woman claimed the boy and his family were portrayed as 'monstrous'.

'In the present case, the boy, who was also subjected to physical assault (after the crash), was shown to be a monster and removed from his home where he could feel protected and is kept in illegal detention,' the petition said.

The teenager must have been kept with other children in conflict with law at the observation home which could be detrimental to him. Instead of an observation facility, he ought to be kept in the custody of a family member (the boy's parents are in jail in separate cases related to the crash) who could take care of him, according to the plea.

The petition said the police were trying to make an example out of this case and in the process acting in contravention of provisions of law.

On May 19 itself the boy (hours after the crash) was released in the custody of his grandfather with certain conditions. However, pursuant to a motivated public uproar, the release order passed by the Juvenile Justice Board was challenged by the police and on May 22, the boy was taken back into custody and sent to an observation home, it said.

Pursuant to this, the boy's parents and grandfather were arrested (on different charges related to the accident) and are currently in judicial custody. The boy continues to be illegally detained in violation of provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, the petitioner claimed.

'The petitioner is compelled to file the petition against the respondents (police) for their abuse of process and blatant disregard to the rule of law, further compounded by the arbitrary and illegal detention of the boy,' the plea said.

Earlier this week, the Juvenile Justice Board extended the teenager's custody at the observation facility till June 25.


Parents, another accused sent in judicial custody

A court in Pune on Friday remanded the parents of the juvenile and another accused in judicial custody for 14 days after their police remand got over.

Parents Vishal and Shivani Agarwal, and 'middleman' Ashpak Makandar are being probed for alleged switching of the teenager's blood samples so as to establish that he was not drunk when the accident took place on May 19.

Makandar is accused of acting as a middleman between the Agarwals and doctors at the Sassoon General Hospital where blood samples are collected in such cases.

It is alleged that blood samples of the teenager's mother, Shivani Agarwal, were used as a replacement.

The couple and Makandar were produced before the additional sessions judge on Friday.

The prosecution sought judicial custody for the parents, but demanded another three days' police custody for Makandar.

Investigation showed that he met the parents before the juvenile's blood samples were collected following the early morning accident on May 19, and destruction of the blood samples was discussed at this meeting, it said.

Police also wanted to probe if Dr Ajay Taware, then head of the forensic medicine department of the Sassoon hospital who allegedly first suggested that blood samples can be manipulated, was contacted during or after this meeting, the prosecution said. Taware has been arrested in the case.

Technical evidence and CCTV footage also indicate that Makandar was present at the Yerawada police station (where the accident case was registered), Sassoon hospital, and the Juvenile Justice Board (where the teenager was produced after he was first detained), the prosecution said.

Makandar was allegedly paid Rs 4 lakh by the juvenile's father. He handed over Rs 3 lakh to other accused, but police need to probe to whom he gave remaining Rs 1 lakh, it said.

While builder Vishal Agarwal, the juvenile's father, was arrested on June 21, the mother was arrested on June 1.

Defence lawyer Prasad Kulkarni opposed the plea, stating that the prosecution did not cite any new grounds for Makandar's further custody.
After hearing the arguments, the court remanded the parents and Makandar in judicial custody for 14 days.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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