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Jaguar crash: SC refuses bail to man accused of killing two Bangladesh nationals

A two-Judge bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hemant Gupta opined that he should have not driven the car in this situation.

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The Supreme Court today refused bail to Raghib Parwez, elder son of a Restaurateur and an accused in the Jaguar car crash, which led to death of two Bangladeshi Nationals, challenging the Calcutta High Court order, which had cancelled the extension of his interim bail and directed him to surrender by April 20.

During the course of hearing today, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the petitioner, said the petitioner had no intention to kill anyone. His Jaguar hit a Mercedes Car, which further hit two people, who died on the spot. He argued that the petitioner was suffering from bipolar disorder and two medical reports from the government institutions have confirmed this. 

A two-Judge bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hemant Gupta opined that he should have not driven the car in this situation. Sibal agreed with the bench. 

Further, Justice Kaul said that charge sheet has been filed, to which Mr Sibal contended that he was on interim bail and during this pandemic situation, why the petitioner is been taken to custody again, as he will not run away and will follow the bail obligations. The Court should appreciate the fact of unsoundness of the person, he said. 

An FIR was registered at the Shakespeare Sarani Police Station on August 17, 2019, under Sections 304 (causing death by negligence), 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), along with other sections of the Indian Penal Code and of the Motor Vehicle Act.

The case pertains to a road accident that happened on August 17, 2019, at about 0150 hrs in south Kolkata, when a Jaguar hit a Mercedes, leading to the death of two people on the footpath, which were said to be Bangladesh Nationals.

It is stated that the Jaguar car was proceeding along the Shakespeare Sarani from West to East direction and at the crossing of Shakespeare Sarani and Loudon Street, after violating the road traffic signal, hit the middle right side of a Mercedes car, which was coming along the Loudon Street from North to South direction and dragged the said car towards the southeastern side of the crossing and hit the traffic kiosk on the footpath and also smashed two Bangladeshi nationals namely, Kazi Md. Mainul Alam and Farhana Islam Taniya were waiting for hiring a taxi. The two Bangladeshi nationals were taken to SSKM Hospital where they were declared “Brought Dead”.

During the Course of investigation the relatives of the present petitioner tried to mislead the Investigating Agency and produced one Arsalan Parwez. Investigation also revealed that the driver and co- passenger of the Mercedes vehicle were also seriously injured. The accused initially took shelter in one of his relation’s house at the outskirt of Kolkata and from there he fled to Dubai. Subsequently the passport of the accused on being seized reflected his movement to Dubai also.

In course of investigation it was opined by the experts that the offending car was driven at an estimated speed of 130-135 km per hour before the incident and history of the car reflected that it had violated traffic signals for 48 times during the seven months prior to the incident. 

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During the Period the accused had filed the bail application and on the basis of the medical report dated March 16, 2020 issued by Director of Institute of Psychiatry, the accused was granted interim bail for a period of two months. The said interim bail was extended on June 09, 2020, for six weeks. However, by the same order, the Superintendent of the Institute of Psychiatry – Centre of Excellence (COE) was directed to submit a report with regard to the nature of ailment of the accused with specific emphasis on the aspect as to whether the mental illness, if any, of the accused is of such decree that he is unable to participate in the trial proceeding. Additionally, it was ordered that the Superintendent shall also mention in the report whether the accused needs to go to Bangalore for better treatment as contended on his behalf. On 20.10.2020 the interim bail was extended till 31st December 2020, after directing the report of the Superintendent to be circulated upon the lawyers appearing for the parties.

On December 02, 2020 when the matter came up for hearing the interim order was extended for a period of four months with a direction to the Investigating Agency to take steps to ensure medical examination with regard to the psychological status and the capacity of the petitioner to face trial, to be examined at the National Institute of Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore. The Head of the Institution was directed to extend necessary assistance to the Investigating Agency and a report was also called for with regard to the psychological status of the accused.

Accordingly, a report dated February 23, 2021 furnished before the Court by a Board of National Institute of Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore, consisting of the Medical Superintendent, Chairman, Prof & HOD Psychiatry Member and Prof & HOD Neurology Member where the Board observed

“The Board, after examining the patient and having gone through all available medical records and after discussion during the medical board meeting, opines that,

1. Mr. Raghib Parwez is suffering from ‘Bipolar affective disorder in remission’. Currently maintaining improvement.

2. Mr. Raghib Parwez is maintaining well on medications (Tab. Valproate 1250 mg/day, Tab. Aripiprazole 15 mg/day and Tab/. Thyronorm 25 mcg/day).

3. Detailed clinical and psychological assessment reveals that Mr. Raghib Parwez is fit to face the trial procedures.”

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The High Court had held that

“In view of the aforesaid opinion of the Board this Court is of the view that the provisions of Section 330 of Code of Criminal Procedure, is not attracted. Having considered the initial conduct of the accused, which reflects that after committing the ghastly incident he fled away to a foreign country, we are of the opinion that the interim bail so granted to the accused should not be extended. The accused as such is directed to surrender before the Learned Chief Judge, City Sessions Court, Calcutta, on or before 20th April, 2021.”

It further directed,

“The Investigating Officer of the case is directed that if on or before 21st April, 2021 the accused do not surrender before the Learned Chief Judge, City Sessions Court, Calcutta, the Investigating Officer will exhaust the available process under law to secure the presence of the accused before the Court.”

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