Mumbai: Almost two years after NRI hairstylist Nooriya Haveliwala rammed her vehicle into five persons, killing two people, the Sessions Court yesterday convicted her for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, and for various offences under the Motor Vehicles Act and the IPC. She has been sentenced to five years in jail, and will be fined over Rs 9 lakh, part of which will go to the families of the victims.
Thirty-year-old Haveliwala had rammed her Honda CR-V into five persons, including four policemen. The crash had taken the lives of sub-inspector Dinanath Shinde (46), and Afjal Ibrahim (35), a Kurla-based hotelier.
Special NDPS Judge IM Bohari observed in his judgment, "The sub-inspector was discharging his duty and the motorcyclist [Ibrahim] died young... the injuries sustained by the policemen and taxi driver also need to be remembered while pronouncing her sentence... Considering the behaviour of the accused during trial, her young age and old mother, I am of the view that balance has to be maintained in awarding sentence and taking care of the woes of the victims."
Judge Bohari after placing Nooriya in the witness box asked her if she had anything to say on the quantum of the sentence. After a long pause, Nooriya softly told the judge that she had an aged mother and repented the incident. Bohari noted in his judgment, "She wants to give back as much as possible to society. Similar accidents are taking place today very frequently. Drivers who want to enjoy their driving cannot be allowed to mistreat persons on the road."
Reduced to tears
As the sentences were being read out, Nooriya started weeping softly. She was sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5 lakh under section 304-II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), six months simple imprisonment and a Rs 1,000 fine for drunken driving under the Motor Vehicles Act, a year's simple imprisonment under section 338 (causing grievous hurt), and three months' SI under section 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others). She was also fined Rs 20,000 for damaging a police vehicle and sentenced to two years' SI for this as well. All sentences are to run concurrently.
She will also be required to pay Rs 2 lakh cash to each of the heirs of Ibrahim and Shinde, with another Rs 15,000 each to the other three policemen injured in the accident. All compensation will be claimable only after the completion of appeal.
Concluding the judgment, Judge Bohari added, "I would like to point out that Dinesh Nimbal, who stood as surety for the accused, was employed for seven years as the driver for Nooriya's father. Had he been on his duty and had the accused taken his services for driving the car, who knows, the incident would not have taken place."
Nooriya was acquitted for the charges under Section 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 332 (Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty) and 27A of the Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS).
Speaking to the media after the conviction and sentencing, Additional Public Prosecutor Kiran Arvind Raikar said, "The court was of the opinion that certain procedures and guidelines prescribed by the Bombay HC in collecting evidence for drug cases were not faithfully followed, and has therefore acquitted Haveliwala of the NDPS charge." Defence lawyer Ashwin Thool, who represented Nooriya, said, "She will definitely appeal the conviction before the Bombay High Court."
Addressing the court on the quantum of sentence, Thool told the court, "[Haveliwala] has shown immense remorse. Immediately after the accident she offered the victims help to go to the hospital. Since her release on bail she has given back to society. She has registered a trust to raise awareness about such incidents. She is only 30 years old and the incident has scarred her mentally. Her father has died due to the strain of this episode and she is an only child with an 80-year-old mother to take care of. She wants to stay in society and give back to it."
Raikar explained her reasons for praying for the maximum sentence. "The incident was late at night. People should take care while driving and not spoil other people's lives," she said.
In the wee hours of January 30, 2010, Colaba resident Haveliwala, was returning from Ghetto, a pub at Breach Candy, after being asked to come home by her parents. Nooriya got into her father's Honda CR-V and rushed back home, driving at over 100 km/h.
She crashed into a taxi that turned into her and then careened into a police Qualis, where deceased Dinanath Shinde, along with other constables Ashok Shinde and Shailendra Jadhav, were on duty. Shinde was writing a ticket for a biker, hotelier Afjal Ibrahim, whom he had stopped. Nooriya then mowed down Ibrahim and collided into Shinde. A mobile unit of the police later arrested her. Beer cans were found in her vehicle.