A Delhi court on January 2, 2023 remanded in police custody for three days the five accused booked for the death of woman after her scooty was allegedly hit by a car and dragged under the car for over an hour.
After hearing the application seeking five days of custodial interrogation, Metropolitan Magistrate Ajay Singh Parihar sent the five men to police custody for three days.
The 20-year-old woman had died in outer Delhi’s Sultanpuri on January 1, 2023 and the accused have been booked on charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, causing death by negligence and criminal conspiracy, police said.
Also read: Culprits should be punished severely, says Kejriwal on Kanjhawala hit and run case
During the hearing, police told the court the probe was in the initial stages and custodial interrogation of the accused was required for taking it forward.
The Sultanpuri police station has registered an FIR against Deepak Khanna (26), Amit Khanna (25), Krishan (27), Mithun (26) and Manoj Mittal.
Vehicle involved in hit-and-run case to be examined by forensic experts
Sagar Preet Hooda, Special Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) said a medical board has been constituted to conduct the autopsy. “Based on the post-mortem report, fresh charges could be added against the five accused arrested in connection with the case,” he said at a press conference.
“The accused will be taken to the scene of the crime to verify their version of events. The timeline of events will be established on the basis of the CCTV footage and digital evidence,” Mr. Hooda told reporters.
“The forensic examination of the vehicle is also being done,” he said.
Protests erupt in outer Delhi
Scores of protesters gathered outside the Sultanpuri Police Station on Monday and blocked traffic demanding punishment for those responsible for the woman’s death. A person, who claimed to be an eyewitness to the incident, alleged the woman’s body was dragged for over one-and-half hours.
A video purportedly showing the woman’s body without clothes and broken legs has also surfaced on social media. The footage also led to claims that the victim was raped and killed, but police said it was an accident.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal termed it the “rarest of rare crime” and demanded the strictest punishment for those behind the incident, while L-G V.K. Saxena said his head hung in shame over the “inhuman” crime.
“Spoke to Hon’ble L-G on Kanjhawala incident. Requested him to take exemplary action against culprits, strictest sections of IPC shud be slapped against them. No leniency should be shown even if they have high political connections. He assured that he will take strong action,” Mr. Kejriwal tweeted.
Aam Aadmi Party leaders on Monday staged a protest outside the residence of L-G Saxena and demanded his resignation over the incident. Around 200 AAP leaders and workers, including MLAs Atishi, Saurabh Bhardwaj and Durgesh Pathak, gathered outside Raj Niwas at Civil Lines and raised slogans.
Security around the L-G’s residence has been beefed up with barricades being put up and water canons deployed in the area.
Mr. Bhardwaj alleged that one of the accused in the case, Manoj Mittal, is a BJP leader and a hoarding bearing his picture hangs outside the local police station where he and his other friends are currently lodged.
The Delhi BJP’s media cell head Harish Khurana, in his turn, said the police have already arrested the accused and the guilty should be given the strictest punishment regardless of the party they belong to.
At the protest in outer Delhi’s Sultanpuri, an agitator said, “At the time of the incident, people were wearing five layers of clothes to beat the cold. Then what’s the likelihood of her being found naked?” Mr. Deepak, who claims to be an eyewitness to the incident, said that when he spotted the car and the woman under it, he immediately called the police and chased it for several kilometres.
“The body was visibly stuck under the car which made three rounds on the Kanjhawala Road taking U-turns after every few kilometres. Police just kept calling me and asking where I saw the body. I made a PCR call at 3.18 am, however, the first PCR call about the incident was made from Begumpur an hour before,” he told PTI.
Another person, who works as a delivery boy for a food delivery aggregator, said the car took a U-turn after the driver saw police barricades on Kanjahwala Road.
“I was completing an order when at Maharaja Agrasen Chowk a car running at high speed almost knocked me down. When the car took a U-turn upon noticing the barricades I saw the head of a girl at the rear end of the vehicle,” he said
.Police have said the victim’s body was sent to the Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital at Mangolpuri for post-mortem. They said the victim’s leg got entangled in one of the wheels of the car and she was dragged around.
Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal asked police to clarify if the woman was sexually harassed and if the accused have a criminal history. The panel on Sunday issued a notice to police in connection with the incident.
“I have some questions for Delhi Police. Was the woman sexually harassed by the accused? Was she killed like this after she protested over the harassment? For how many kilometres was she dragged by the car? Was there no checkpost or OCR van deployed on the stretch that she (was) dragged on?” Ms. Maliwal asked.
(With inputs from PTI)