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Updated: January 26, 2013 15:24 IST

The accused go scot free

Marri Ramu
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Negligible is the percentage of road accident cases in which conviction is secured to the errant drivers

That conviction rate in general is far less from the number of cases busted by police has been discussed at different platforms many a time. Rarely noticed and discussed is the fact that even negligible is the percentage of road accident cases in which conviction is secured to the accused drivers.

In this backdrop, road users — be it bike riders or drivers of medium to heavy vehicles — naturally bother little to take precautions not to cause accidents. Lawyers point out that family members of road accident victims compromising with drivers of the accused vehicles is one of the main reasons for poor conviction rate in such cases. “Yet questions remain as to how scientific and systematic are the efforts of investigators to ensure the accused are punished,” observes advocate Venkat Reddy.

Unlike other crimes where efforts are made to protect the crime scene, the accident spot is completely disturbed by the time police rush there, erasing whatever crucial evidence is available. This happens because even a minor accident throws traffic out of gear on the bustling city roads. “No one is ready to wait till the police reach and gather evidence. Commuters are simply pushing aside the vehicles and rushing to their respective destinations,” a traffic police officer says. The accident in the early hours of January 1 near Green mosque at Banjara Hills, which left three dead, is a classic example. Three youngsters suffered critical wounds after the bike they were riding hit the median.

By the time police went there, passers-by shifted two of the injured to different hospitals. The only option for the investigators in this and most of other road accidents is the material evidence in the form of tyre marks on road, damages suffered by vehicles, condition of roads, accounts of eyewitnesses and fitness of vehicles. Instances of police taking the help of forensic experts in ascertaining the causes of accidents are scarce. In police stations like Punjagutta, S.R. Nagar, Saroornagar and Jeedimetla registering highest number of criminal cases, investigators spend little time to adopt a methodical approach and gather scientific evidence.

“Maintenance of law and order plus crime detection work exhaust us. Even during crime review meetings, no senior officer takes a serious note of accused in road accident cases not being punished,” say some police officers revealing another side of the coin.

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