Mumbai jogger's death: City court rejects accused Sumer Merchant's bail application

Mumbai jogger's death: City court rejects accused Sumer Merchant's bail application

The bail plea, filed through Advocate Anjali Patil, stated that Merchant's friend and he were dropping a female colleague to her residence and didn't see the 57-year-old as it was a blind spot with a sharp turn.

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Tuesday, March 28, 2023, 08:26 AM IST
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The car that Sumer Merchant was driving | Swapnil Sakhare/ FPJ

Mumbai: A city magistrate court has rejected the bail plea of 23-year-old Sumer Merchant, who has been booked for knocking down Rajalakhsmi Vijay, a tech firm CEO, when she was jogging at the Worli sea-face in the early hours of March 19. A detailed order is not yet available.

The bail plea, filed through Advocate Anjali Patil, stated that Merchant's friend and he were dropping a female colleague to her residence and didn't see the 57-year-old as it was a blind spot with a sharp turn.

Young man with no criminal record, prima facie no evidence that he was drunk and driving: bail plea

It further said that the deceased was running in the wrong direction and after the mishap, the accused and his friends had helped to get Rajalakhsmi in an ambulance. The court was also asked to consider that the accused is a young man with no criminal record.

The plea also pointed out that Merchant's breathalyser test, which was done when he was taken into custody after the accident, showed negative results. So, there is no prima facie material to show that he was driving under the influence of alcohol.

Plea also stated that he is liable for causing death by negligence

The plea further stated that Indian Penal Code(IPC) section 304(2) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) doesn't apply to Merchant as he had no knowledge that his act could cause death. At the maximum, the plea said he would be liable for IPC section 304A (death by negligence). The latter is punishable by two years imprisonment or fine and the former with up to 10 years jail.

Rajalakshmi Ramakrishnan's husband opposed bail plea

Meanwhile, the husband of the victim opposed the bail plea through Advocate Hemant Ingale. The advocate pointed out that the medical reports of the accused show that he had consumed alcohol before the accident. Hence, he was charged with more stringent provisions of IPC section 304(2), he said, adding that it's not in the jurisdiction of the magistrate to grant bail to him.

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