SC acquits 3 for lack of evidence

The Supreme Court on Wednesday acquitted three co-accused in the 13-year-old high profile BMW car crash case for lack of evidence but reserved the verdict against main accused Sanjeev Nanda, the grandson of former Naval chief S.M. Nanda on the question of enhancing his sentence.

A bench of justices Deepak Verma and K.S. Radhakrishnan set aside the order of the trial judge and the Delhi high court convicting co-accused Rajeev Gupta and his two employees Bhola Nath and Shyam Singh. The three were accused by the Delhi police of helping Sanjeev Nanda by destroying evidence against him.
Sanjeev Nanda was awarded five years’ jail term by the trial judge for crushing to death six people, including three policemen, in January 1999 with his BMW car. But the HC had reduced the sentence to two years and the police had challenged the HC order in the apex court with a plea for restoring his sentence as awarded by the trial court.
While Rajeev Gupta was awarded six months’ imprisonment, his two employees were given three months’ jail term.
The three were given benefit of doubt as the police failed to bring on record sufficient material evidence to prove the charges of destruction of evidence against them. In fact, the apex court pulled up the police for its shoddy investigation.
The top court pointed out various “flaws” in the investigation stating that the evidence brought on record did not “conclusively” prove the charge of evidence tampering against the trio. “No credible evidence was recorded by the prosecution to show who washed the car.”
The prosecution had alleged that the three had got the car washed to remove the blood stains from it. But the top court found that the police had even not done the basic thing of lifting of fingerprints from the car.
The car crash had hit the headlines for weeks as Sanjeev, then a teenager, had allegedly been driving at a very high speed in an inebriated condition while returning from a party.

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