Mumbai hit-and-run: rich, influential won’t be spared, says Eknath Shinde

Maharashtra Chief Minister tells Mumbai Police to crack down on drunk driving, cancel licences of repeat offenders. Police forms six teams to trace accused Mihir Shah who is on the run

Updated - July 09, 2024 03:31 pm IST

Published - July 08, 2024 11:35 am IST - Mumbai

Police personnel inspect a BMW car that ran over two people riding a bike, at Worli Police Station in Mumbai on Sunday. One woman died and one person injured in the accident

Police personnel inspect a BMW car that ran over two people riding a bike, at Worli Police Station in Mumbai on Sunday. One woman died and one person injured in the accident | Photo Credit: ANI

A day after the Mumbai hit-and-run incident that killed one woman, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde directed the Mumbai police commissioner to crack down on drunk driving and told the civic body to act against establishments that violate regulations and serve alcohol. The Chief Minister said that such cases “will not be tolerated”.

“I am deeply alarmed by the rise in hit-and-run incidents in Maharashtra. It is intolerable that the powerful and influential misuse their status to manipulate the system. Such miscarriages of justice will not be tolerated by my Government,” Mr. Shinde posted on X.

Watch: Husband and daughter of victim shattered

The Chief Minister said, “the lives of ordinary citizens are precious”. “I have directed the State Police department to handle these cases with the utmost seriousness and ensure justice is served... No one, whether rich, influential, or the offspring of bureaucrats or ministers, affiliated with any party, will have immunity as long as I am the Chief Minister of the State... my administration stands firmly with the victims and their families,” he posted.

Mr. Shinde told the Mumbai Police to tighten surveillance at nights and on weekends, and to cancel the driving licences of habitual offenders. The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai has been directed to regularly check pubs, bars and restaurants to ensure these do not violate laws and operate beyond permissible hours.

The directions came in the aftermath of the incident on Sunday morning in which a luxury car purportedly being driven by Mihir Shah, the 24-year-old son of Shiv Sena’s deputy leader in Palghar district Rajesh Shah, hit a two-wheeler killing the pillion Kaveri Nakhawa and injuring her husband Pradeep Nakhawa in Mumbai’s Worli area.

After the car hit the two-wheeler, the rider fell on the road but the deceased woman landed on the car’s bonnet. The vehicle dragged her for a distance and then drove off. Mr. Mihir and his driver Rajrishi Bidawat, who was sitting next to him, abandoned the car a few kilometres away and fled.

The Mumbai Police has issued a Look Out Circular (LOC) and formed six teams to trace Mr. Mihir. Mr. Bidawat and Mr. Rajesh were arrested by the Worli police for allegedly assisting the accused to flee. The Sena leader owns the car. Police has registered a case under multiple sections of Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, including culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

“There is a possibility of Mihir Shah fleeing India, hence, we have issued an LOC against him,” a senior police officer said. While Mr. Rajesh was remanded to 14 days’ judicial custody and was later granted bail, Mr. Bidawat has been sent to police custody.

The accident has taken a political turn with the Opposition targeting the ruling Mahayuti alliance.

Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly and Congress leader Vijay Wadettiwar took a swipe at the ruling alliance on Monday saying, “The egos of ruling party leaders have become big. They think they can do anything and get away. Law and order has deteriorated. Police and administration are not in a frame of mind to work. Had they (accused) feared the law, these incidents (Mumbai car incident) would not have happened after the Pune case.”

Mumbai North Central MP Varsha Gaikwad said “innocent people are getting killed under rich people’s cars as they drive recklessly under alcohol’s influence.”

She said the rise in such incidents is alarming. “We do not want to politicise the issue, but the government should look into the matter to provide immediate justice to the victim’s family. Not only the culprit, but also those helping him in violating the rule should be booked,” she said. Ms. Gaikwad’s also highlighted the connection between Mr. Rajesh and Mr. Shinde.

Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) leader and former Minister Aaditya Thackeray had posted on X, “I will not go into the political leanings of Shah, the accused in the case, but I hope that the police will swiftly act to arrest the accused and bring them to justice. I hope no political refuge is provided by the current regime.”

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