By Jaideep Sarin
Chandigarh: Chandigarh Police may claim to be one of the most professional forces in India but the Punjab and Haryana High Court is not impressed. The police, including senior officers, are in the line of fire of the court for a shoddy probe into an accident in which three lives were lost.
Two young students from Ghaziabad and their Chevrolet Tavera taxi driver died instantly when an allegedly rashly-driven Audi Q7 SUV hit an electricity pole and a road divider before landing on their vehicle on the other side of the road at 1 a.m. July 22 this year.
The high-end SUV, being driven at high speed by the son of a wealthy businessman, had two other youths when the accident happened.
Chandigarh Police officials, in a clear attempt to shield the guilty Audi SUV driver, booked the deceased driver of the taxi for rash and negligent driving.
When this triggered a blazing row, police finally booked the SUV driver.
What led the high court judge, Justice Amol Rattan Sidhu, to state that the court regretted the “sad state of affairs” of Chandigarh Police was the fact that the force and its senior officers tried everything to weaken the case of drunken driving by the SUV driver.
The court acknowledged, with a reprimand to Chandigarh Police and Senior Superintendent of Police Naunihal Singh, that the father and sister of one of the victims of the accident, who was an engineering student, had to collect evidence in the case. The court pointed out that this job should have been done by the police. One piece of evidence was collected over a month after the accident.
The matter came to the attention of the high court after Yash Pal Juneja, father of victim Sahil Juneja, approached the court to highlight the slipshod manner in which the Chandigarh Police were conducting the probe and allegedly trying to shield the accused.
The court Wednesday directed the police to submit a report on the procedure and rules they follow for inspection of crime incidents including fatal accidents. The court sought a report from the police on other shoddy probes conducted by it.
Many people are drawing a comparison of the Audi SUV case with the BMW hit and run case in New Delhi in the 1990s when too Delhi Police tried to save the accused who belonged to rich and influential families.
In this case though, the family of the victim is not willing to give up without a fight against the apathy of Chandigarh Police.