Nanda’s friend contests his BMW conviction in apex court

NEW DELHI - Rajiv Gupta, a businessman friend of the Nanda family who was convicted on charges of washing the bloodstains from the BMW and destroying evidence after Sanjeev Nanda was involved in a hit-and-run in 1999, has approached the Supreme Court against the Delhi High Court verdict.

A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P. Sathasivam put off his appeal for Wednesday. The apex court would ascertain whether his appeal against the high court convicting and sentencing him to six months’ jail needs to be adjudicated by the Supreme Court.

However, while putting off the hearing for Wednesday, the Supreme Court Friday waived its rule that a person convicted by the high court can move the apex court only after surrendering to the police.

Gupta was protected from the arrest till Wednesday as senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for him, pleaded to the bench to waive the apex court rule.

Rohtagi pleaded to the bench that his client had a very incidental and peripheral role in the hit-and-run incident and was convicted just because he had ordered his employees to wash the blood stains from the BMW after the accident on Jan 10, 1999, in which six people were killed.

Rohtagi said all through his trial at the lower court and later during the period when his appeal was pending at the high court, he had been on bail.

Rohtagi said even the key accused in the case, former Indian Navy chief’s grandson Sanjeev Nanda, has been convicted by the high court on charges of causing death due to rash and negligent act and was sentenced to just two years in jail.

On Rohtagi’s plea, the apex court waived its rule.

Six people, including three policemen, were crushed to death by a BMW car driven by Sanjeev Nanda in an inebriated state on Lodhi Road in the early hours of Jan 10, 1999.

–Indo-sian news Service

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