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Home > 2023 > Anjali Singh’s death is not a simple hit and run accident case | Faraz (...)

Mainstream, VOL 61 No 3, January 7, 2023

Anjali Singh’s death is not a simple hit and run accident case | Faraz Ahmad

Saturday 7 January 2023, by Faraz Ahmad

Sanjeev Nanda the grandson of former Indian Navy chief Admiral S.M. Nanda and son of well known Arms dealer Suresh Nanda drove his brand new BMW not even registered yet through the police barricade at Lodhi Road in the early hours of 10 January, 1999 at a reported speed of 140 kilometres killing six people, mostly policemen on security duty manning the police checkpost. After years of to and fro in Delhi courts he was finally awarded only two years of imprisonment for rash and negligent driving and causing merely culpable homicide not amounting to murder. After thirteen years the case finally came to a close with the Supreme Court of India opining that Sanjeev Nanda need not undergo even two years’ imprisonment for the trauma he had to undergo and a few months behind bars. The Supreme Court condoned his sentence awarded by the lower courts and said that the term served was enough and thus enlarged him. Instead in 2012 the Court asked him to do “social service” for two years.

This case is worth recalling in the context of the killing of 20-year-old scooter rider Anjali Singh by five persons in Sultanpuri/Mongolpuri in North West Delhi who hit Anjali’s scooter and then dragged poor Anjali’s body under their Maruti Baleno car for 10-12 kilometres, according to Delhi Police, which initially claimed five persons were sitting in that car including a local BJP leader and ration shop owner of Sultanpuri Manoj Mittal along with his friends. Is it because of BJP influence or any other reason, the Delhi Police seems to be changing its version about this case every day since New Year when this wilful murder took place on Delhi roads. Initially the Police claimed there were five occupants in that Maruti Baleno car. But the latest statement of the Delhi Police says that only four were there in the car. Even the presumed driver has now changed and now the police says that Deepak Khanna, a Gramin Seva tempo driver earlier allegedly on the wheel was in fact sleeping away at his home and offered to take the blame for rash and negligent driving only because, of all of them, he alone had a driving licence. None of the four occupants possessed a driving licence. The Police now says that Deepak’s cousin Amit Khanna was at the wheel. But we can’t be sure of that either. And we are not sure whether in this case as in the Nanda case, the Police will actually probe this crime with any sincerity. This apprehension arises from the fact that the police despite protests by family members of Anjali Singh and her neighbours outside Sultanpuri police station and eye witness account of the men driving away with Anjali’s body stuck under the Baleno after reversing the car several times to extricate the body as if it was some inanimate object under the wheels.

This is a clear case of wilful murder and not of rash and negligent driving nor culpable homicide not amounting to murder as the Police has registered it. So according to the Police the occupants of the car included Manoj Mittal, Amit Khanna, Krishan and Mithun. A shopkeeper near the spot of the accident, who witnessed the act from a distance reportedly shouted at the car and tried to stop it but said the car paid no heed to even the cries of the girl under the wheels and sped away Whoever may have been at the wheel, all the four in that car were equally guilty because they failed to prevent the driver from running over the alive girl..

Now recall the Sanjeev Nanda case, again according to the Police version. Sanjeev was not alone in his car. Along with him were two of his friends Siddhartha Gupta and Manik Kapur. Siddhartha’s house was at a stone’s throw from the spot of the incident, 50, Golf Links. Sanjeev reportedly stopped the car. Saw six people including policemen, lying injured there. It would have been a mere accident if the BMW occupants had rushed them to the hospital or simply informed the Police. But the attendants at the petrol pump who witnessed the accident with a loud bang, saw Sanjeev stop the car, see the six lying there, writhing in pain. Realising he could be arrested for rash and negligent driving, he reversed his BMW ran over them, ensuring their death and fled. The other two friends instead of preventing him from committing a wilful deliberate murder of six people to obliterate any evidence, only helped him by hiding his car in Gupta’s well-fortified home, order the servants to wash the car to remove all blood stains, pretending as if nothing happened and they had no role in any crime. The poor servants were arrested and tried for being accessory to the crime. As if they could have refused what their employer asked them to do. It was case of murder and his two friends who egged him on to commit this murder were, under the law accomplices in the crime of murder.

Police now claims that the Baleno could not be caught in time by police patrol because avoiding the main road they took narrow bylanes all the while the girl entangled under their car, to avoid being caught.

Anjali’s murderers too were apparently confident of getting away lightly. Was it because of the presence of Manoj Mittal in the car on the wheel or sitting on the passengers’ seat? From day one it is evident that once the hue and cry over this act dies down all of them will be out. In fact under the law in the case of rash and negligent driving, the accused need not be taken to the magistrate at all. The police itself is authorised to grant bail to the accused and enlarge the accused. Besides the police has already declared that they were playing loud music because of which perhaps they failed to hear the noise of the accident and the cries of the poor girl. Nothing is farther from truth than this. But take it from me, this will be the police case.

This culture of impunity in committing a heinous crimes comes from an atmosphere wherein there is no value for human life and dignity. Manoj Mittal is the local organiser of the BJP meaning his work is to mobilise people from his area whenever they are needed by the party. So be it a hate public meeting or a hate procession it is his job to collect the crowd from his area. Is it possible that the accused may be from the BJP’s hate gangs roaming around Delhi streets at all odd hours? Needs a thorough probe. But who will probe this, when the Delhi Police is compromised and so is every central agency and institution?

However it is clear that if you create an atmosphere of hate and egg on people to go around killing people, from public platforms not once but almost every day, you create criminals cowards and monsters who think nothing of killing someone but instead of rising to help a victim run over him or her to erase all traces of evidence which could lead to them.

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