New Delhi: The Supreme Court has ruled that Delhi businessman Sanjeev Nanda will not have to put in any more jail time for running over six people in his BMW in 1999. Mr Nanda and his friends raced away after the accident. The six people who died included three constables. Tests showed that Mr Nanda was drunk at the time of the accident.
The Supreme Court judges made strong observations against Mr Nanda, stating that "even after getting down from the car, he didn't care for the victims and escaped ...the lives of six persons could have been saved if he had shown mercy."
Mr Nanda was sentenced to five years in jail by a Delhi court; but the Delhi High Court allowed him to serve two years instead. Mr Nanda's lawyer, Ram Jethmalani, had argued that Mr Nanda could not be held guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder because he was not aware or "in the knowledge" that his rash driving would cause deaths.
The Delhi Police then asked the Supreme Court to impose a stricter punishment with a 10-year-sentence. The Supreme Court agreed that Mr Nanda should have been convicted under a tougher section of the law, but said he does not need to return to jail. He has been asked to do two years of community service and to donate 50 lakhs which will be used to help victims of road accidents.
Mr Nanda is the grandson of former naval chief SM Nanda. His parents and his wife were in court today with him.
His accident and the trial that followed became one of the cases that exemplified middle class India's frustration with rich and powerful people being able to circumvent the law.