Juvenile in Mercedes hit and run case may appear in court today

DNAIn the Mercedes hit and run case, a trial court here on Saturday extended custody of the juvenile’s father who was arrested on Friday night in connection with the accident. The juvenile, who is allegedly untraceable, will voluntarily join the investigation on Sunday, Alok Lakahnpal, the defence counsel stated.

On April 4, a then juvenile driving a speeding Mercedes hit 32-year-old Siddharth Sharma who was crossing the road. Sharma was flung almost 20 feet in the air before hitting ground. The juvenile, who turned 18 on April 8, four days after the alleged crime, will be tried in the juvenile court. However, his father arrested on charges of abetment, will be tried at the Tis Hazari trial court.

The prosecutor’s charge that claims the juvenile to be untraceable comes close on the heels of the emergence of another close circuit television camera (CCTV) footage. The 2:45 minute-long clip shows a busy road and two boys wearing black walking on the footpath (going right to left on the screen) on the 38th second. At 1:51 minutes, the clip shows five more boys – perhaps his friends – walking away from the scene of crime. They boys then stand at the corner of the intersection as they make calls – presumably to their wards to inform them about the incident that had just taken place.

“The CCTV footage that captured the incident goes on and shows the juvenile and his friends walking away from the scene of the crime,” said Sajeel Khanna, a close friend of the victim.

The juvenile’s father a resident of an affluent neighbourhood in north Delhi’s Civil Lines was arrested on an aggravated charge under section 109/304 of the IPC that deals with abetment. Arguing for police custody, Additional Public Prosecutor Atul Shrivastava told the court that, “The investigation of this case is in its initial stages and hence the police custody of the accused is required for proper investigation.” The police also requested for custody to conduct a joint investigation to verify all facts. “Mere surrendering of the offender is not sufficient for the present interrogation,” Shrivastava added.

The defence vehemently opposed police custody stating that the aggravated charge was an over reach and the police has charged his client under media pressure. “There is no cause for a joint investigation since the accused person was not even present at the time of the alleged incident,” Lakhanpal argued. Defence counsel further submitted, “The application for tracing the juvenile can be satisfied as the juvenile shall join the investigation tomorrow voluntarily.”

Duty metropolitan magistrate Sachin Sangwan at the Tis Hazari court heard at length arguments from Additional Public Prosecutor Atul Shrivastava and Lakhanpal before remanding the accused to police custody for a day.

The juvenile, who recently gave his Class XII examinations, was on his way to play basketball with five other friends when he ran over Sharma. The silver Mercedes was moving at a speed of 100 kilometres an hour in a residential neighbourhood. According to the initial investigation reports, the boy has been involved with instances of rash driving and has been fined for it as well. However, as of Friday, according to reports, the fine has not yet been paid. The boy was also charged with parking on the wrong side of the road.

According to statements made by the police in court, during the interrogation, the father claimed that the juvenile was his only son and he could not deny him anything. The boy allegedly was fond of driving and hence, even though he was a minor, the father taught the boy how to drive a car. Perhaps to save his son, sources claim that the father initially pressured the family driver to take responsibility of the crime. The driver however, retracted his statement under interrogation.