Pune Porsche Accident Case: Exposed India's Corrupt System

Pune Porsche Accident Case: Exposed India's Corrupt System

The Pune Porshe case has been dominating the front pages and the headlines for over two weeks now. A 17-year-old takes to the Pune roads in wee hours of 19th May, his over speeding Porsche hits a two-wheeler killing two people on the spot.

Afrida Rahman AliUpdated: Saturday, June 01, 2024, 06:41 PM IST
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Pune Killer Porsche |

Mumbai: The Pune Porshe case has been dominating the front pages and the headlines for over two weeks now. A 17-year-old takes to the Pune roads in wee hours of 19th May, his over speeding Porsche hits a two-wheeler killing two people on the spot. Prima facie it’s a case of drunken driving, over speeding and rash and negligent driving that has led to fatal consequences.

Two weeks later as we look at this case, it turns out that all the maladies of modern India lie exposed in this case. From corruption in government offices to police complicity to liquor policies to road safety hazards, right up to irregularities in pub culture and teenage parenting, political influence in high profile cases and flawed criminal justice system.

Let’s start with corruption, it turns out in this case, absolutely no one is immune. Government officials in police force to medical institutions to excise departments are all equally guilty of corruption. After all it has taken just a few phone calls from a powerful businessman to strike deals that will cover up the case in such a manner that the prosecution finds no evidence to build a case against the guilty.

One phone call to the dean of the medical college made sure that the original blood sample that could prove alcohol consumption is tampered with. One visit to the police station from the local MLA ensured that lighter sections of IPC were invoked that entailed lenient punishments. One employee of the powerful realtor was enough to coerce into accepting the blame for driving the vehicle and absolve the teenager completely from the crime.

Every possible trick in the book deployed to ensure that no arm of law can reach the entitled brat who spent 48,000 in a booze party in a Pune bar. If that’s the kind of money that can be made by the pubs and bars, is there any surprise that there is no restriction on underage drinking? It’s a vicious cycle, the profits go into the pockets of police and excise departments, who turn a blind eye to keep the mutually beneficial system running.

As for road safety and two wheelers on Indian roads. It’s a sordid saga. India roughly accounts for just about one percent of the global vehicle population but it accounts for about six percent of the total global road accidents. Almost 70 percent of the accidents involved young Indians. Despite the overhauled Motor Vehicles Act in 2019, intended to decrease road accidents and make the country’s roads safer for road users through stiff hikes in penalties for violations, electronic monitoring and the like, no such decline is visible.

On the contrary, data revealed that over 168,000 people were killed in road crashes in 2022, an increase of around 10 per cent over the previous year and around 10,000 more than 2019. For a few years now the total number of persons killed is what has given India the dubious distinction of topping the list of countries with the highest number road-crash deaths in the world.

As per last available record of 2021 two wheelers have accounted for maximum fatal road accidents 44.5 per cent of total road accidental deaths, followed by cars that account for 15.1 per cent and trucks or lorries that account for 9.4 per cent. Separate lane for two wheelers is still an alien concept in India, something which is mandatory in world class cities. Lets turn to data on drunken driving. According to government data, drunken driving led to 5,122 accidents and 2,376 fatalities in 2019.

This amounts to nearly seven deaths every single day. In India, the maximum punishment for such deaths is two years’ imprisonment. The punishment in drunken driving cases even when it causes death is lighter because it doesn’t amount to murder that predicates itself on ‘intent’. However, the same offence invites much harsher penalty abroad.

In the United States, Japan and South Africa, it may lead to imprisonment for up to 15 years and in the United Kingdom, for up to 14 years. In Canada, France and Singapore, the maximum punishment for this is ten years’ imprisonment. All these countries also impose severe fines and cancel the convict’s driving licence either permanently or for a long period of time.

Last but not the least, the larger malaise of our country- the unholy nexus of politician-businessman- police. This has led to a system where money and power can subvert any legal system and insulate any guilty person from punishment. It’s an all-too-familiar script that plays over and over again in case after case.

So, what would it take to make the system incorruptible?
Unless elected governments make it a mission to weed out corruption at every level and mete out exemplary punishment to those babus and officers who favour the high and mighty there is no hope for the common citizens. As for the entitled lads of rich dads, only if few of them face the harshest punishment, can there be a real fear of the law.

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