Shaji’s application for anticipatory bail rejected
With yet another arrest in the Mercedes speeding case, evidence that the main suspect Shaji Purushothaman was at the wheel is mounting.
According to the police, all the three arrested so far – ‘Kutdirai’ Kumar, Anwar and Anil – have confessed that Shaji drove the car under the influence of alcohol.
In another development, the Madras High Court dismissed Shaji’s anticipatory bail application, filed to prevent arrest in the case.
In the order, Justice C. T. Selvam said the offences alleged were grave. Already, a boy had died in the accident and another child was in a critical condition. In view of this, it was not a fit case for granting anticipatory bail, he said.
In the early hours of May 23, the Mercedes, allegedly driven by Shaji, crashed into people sleeping on the pavement in Egmore, killing one boy and injuring two other children.
Police on Thursday detained Anil Rao, a day after Anwar, another passenger in the car that night, was nabbed. Both Anil and Anwar are connected with the film industry.
“Anil has confessed that Shaji drove the car. Anwar and Anil had advised Shaji against driving the vehicle in a drunken state. But Shaji had told them that he was a rich guy and would do as he pleased,” said a senior police officer.
In police custody for two days, ‘Kutdirai’ Kumar is also believed to have stated that Shaji was in the driver’s seat when the accident occurred.
Kumar has admitted to an inability to drive a car properly, despite holding a driver’s licence.
According to investigators, Kumar was an auto driver before he picked up some car driving skills. On Thursday, Kumar was clueless during a driving test he was subjected to: he was put in the driver’s seat of a variant of the Mercedes that was involved in the accident.
As regards the anticipatory bail petition filed by Shaji’s father M. P. Purushothaman, because the car involved in the accident belonged to his company, Justice Selvam ordered that the petitioner may appear before the traffic investigation police on June 6 at 11 a.m.
He may have an advocate with him. The judge made it clear that the advocate should in no manner interfere with the conduct of the investigating agency’s duties.