NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a plea by Kolkata’s biryani baron Akhtar Parwez seeking bail for his son Raghib, who is accused of causing death of two Bangladeshi nationals while driving his Jaguar F-Pace at a speed of 130-135 kph on August 17, 2019.
Parwez’s counsel Kapil Sibal told a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hemant Gupta that Raghib suffers from Bipolar Affective Disorder and needed heavy medication for the mental illness, that he had cooperated with the investigations leading to filing of chargesheet and that no purpose would be served to send him back to jail after a year of being kept at home on interim bail, especially when the Covid-19 pandemic was raging.
The bench reminded Sibal of the infamous BMW hit-and-run case involving Sanjeev Nanda and said rich brats driving their high-end cars at breakneck speed could not seek concessions. “If he is of unsound mental health, who allowed him to drive the Jaguar at such high speed? The parents in such cases need to be sent behind bars,” the bench said. The bench also said there was no determination by the trial court that Raghib was of unsound mind.
Sibal said, “The chargesheet was filed on September 18, 2019. Raghib was in jail for eight months and was granted interim bail in April last year. What is the purpose of sending him to jail at this stage when the pandemic is raging? There is no allegation that he has influenced witnesses.”
But the bench said Raghib fled to Dubai immediately after the accident. “You also attempted to change the driver. His conduct does not warrant any relief,” it said. Sibal said he had come back to India within 48 hours and surrendered to police for investigations. Raghib had come back after his elder brother Arsalan was arrested by Kolkata police for the accident. Refusing relief, the bench said Raghib should face trial and it was for the competent court to determine his mental condition. “We appreciate your (Sibal’s) arguments. But we are not able to persuade ourselves to agree with you on the relief you have sought,” the bench said and dismissed the father’s plea.
Parwez, through advocate Ankur Chawla, said, “The trial is not likely to conclude shortly as the prosecution has cited 63 witnesses and voluminous evidence which is required to be recorded and sending Raghib to jail at this stage would be punitive in nature and contrary to the petitioner’s fundamental right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the the Constitution of India.”