Mumbai: 'Need to ascertain intent of accused given victim's work profile,' Court on tech-firm CEO's death

Mumbai: 'Need to ascertain intent of accused given victim's work profile,' Court on tech-firm CEO's death

The fatal mishap occurred in the wee hours of March 19 when the deceased, Rajalakshmi Vijay, was jogging at the Worli sea face and was dashed by a car driven by the accused, Sumer Merchant.

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Monday, April 17, 2023, 10:46 PM IST
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Swapnil Sakhare/FPJ

A sessions court – that denied bail to a 23-year-old man arrested for allegedly mowing down a tech-firm’s CEO while she was jogging – said in its detailed order that the victim was in a dominant position in an international company and the police need to investigate the intention of the accused to eliminate her. The police had raised this ground, while opposing the bail application.

The fatal mishap occurred in the wee hours of March 19 when the deceased, Rajalakshmi Vijay, was jogging at the Worli sea face and was dashed by a car driven by the accused, Sumer Merchant. She was pronounced ‘brought dead’ in hospital. Merchant was booked under section 304(II) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), among other offences, under the Motor Vehicles Act (MVA). His bail plea was rejected earlier at a magistrate court, after which he moved the sessions court seeking the relief.

In the order, Additional Sessions Judge MS Kulkarni also noted that the blood report of the accused showed there was 137 mg alcohol per 100 ml blood, which is more than the permissible limit under section 185 (drunken driving) of the MVA, when the accident took place. To which, Merchant’s Advocate Anjali Patil had contended that his urine report had shown alcohol content as negative.

The court said it did not want to accept the contention, while adding that the blood report can't be ignored as it's on record. It further pointed out that when the report discloses that the accused was in a drunken state then section 185 of the MVA and section 304(II) of the Indian Penal Code (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) can be applied. The latter has a provision of imprisonment for up to 10 years.

When the investigation is at a primary stage it would not be proper to release the accused on bail, reasoned the court.

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