The 17-year-old boy, who allegedly knocked a man dead with his father's Mercedes in New Delhi's Civil Lines area has now been charged with culpable homicide considering his past record of negligent driving, police said on Saturday. "On examination of CCTV footage, the possibility of knowledge to the accused juvenile offender that his extremely fast driving in a residential area can cause a death cannot be ruled out," DCP (North) Madhur Verma said.
"Further, during investigation it emerged that it was not the first offence of rash and negligent driving by this accused juvenile. In the past too he was found driving in a rash and negligent way, thereby causing a road accident with another vehicle," he said.
The police added that last year the minor was challaned thrice — for over-speeding in April and June and wrongfully parking his car in February.
"In view of these facts, the death of Siddharth Sharma is a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and, hence, Section 304 of IPC has been added in the FIR," said Verma.
The last time Delhi Police booked someone under culpable homicide in such a matter was in the Sanjeev Nanda BMW case 17 years ago, a senior official said.
On 10 January, 1999, six persons, including three policemen, were killed by a speeding BMW car allegedly driven by Nanda in the wee hours in south Delhi's Lodhi Colony area.
Similar stand was also taken by Mumbai Police in the Salman Khan case.
Meanwhile, Delhi Police on Friday arrested the juvenile's father under Sections 109/304 (abetment to culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of IPC, an Old Delhi-based businessman who lives with his family at a posh apartment in Civil lines area.
"There has not been a single step taken by the father of the accused in prohibiting him from taking the vehicle. This is an act of criminal omission, thereby abetting the crime of the said juvenile," the official said.
Incidentally, the minor wouldn't have gotten away this easily had the Delhi government's proposed road transport and safety bill, which provides for stringent penalties for various traffic offences including a jail term, been in place.
According to a report by Hindustan Times, police have said that under the Motor Vehicles Act, the teenager’s father, if proven guilty, will spend three months in prison and will be fined a total of Rs 1,000.
Piloted by the road transport ministry, the proposed law is not likely to be introduced in Parliament when it recommences on 25 April, officials said. The crucial bill has been one of the top priorities for highways minister Nitin Gadkari since taking charge of the ministry in 2014.
The law will replace the 26-year-old Motor Vehicle act, last amended in 2001, and proposes stringent penalties that would get harsher as the gravity of the offence increases. A fine of Rs 1-lakh fine and not less than four years in jail for causing death by over-speeding, Rs 10,000 fine and impounding of vehicle if an unauthorised person is driving the vehicle, etc. will be some of the punishments.
Continuing to protest over several provisions of the bill, the ministry has now constituted a group of ministers comprising transport ministers of seven states to review the bill and thrash out the differences.
Meanwhile, the investigating officer of the case was also changed after the victim Siddharth Sharma's sister met Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Kumar Verma on Friday and urged him to take strict action against the perpetrators.
The incident took place on Monday when Sharma was trying to cross a road near Ludlow Castle School in Civil Lines and the speeding Mercedes hit him.
The car was being driven at a speed of at least 80 km per hour and Sharma was flung several feet into the air by the impact of the crash and landed around 15 metres away from where he stood.
After the incident, a group of youths stepped out of the vehicle and fled the spot, abandoning the car there.
With inputs from agencies