Kolkata hit-and-run: Sambia in police custody, had hit another soldier

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Kolkata, Jan 18: Sambia Sohrab, who was sent to 14 days in police custody on Sunday for allegedly mowing down an Indian Air Force officer, is also said to have hit and injured another soldier with his speeding sports utility vehicle.

Amid tight security, Sambia was presented before a city court, with police slapping various charges including murder, criminal conspiracy, attempt to murder and destruction of evidence.

Sambia Sohrab

Metropolitan Magistrate Mrityunjay Karmakar remanded him to police custody till January 30 when he would again be brought before the court.

The defence moved an application for bail, claiming that it was as yet not known who was driving the car.

On the other hand, the prosecution sought his police custody for 14 days, arguing there was a need to interrogate him to ascertain more facts about the case and whether there were other persons in the white Audi which he was purportedly driving on that day - January 13.

The defence team also objected to Samia being charged under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code that deals with murder and said that the police at most should have booked him for culpable homicide not amounting to murder under section 304.

The prosecution also alleged that Sambia - drunk when he took the steering of the car - had hit another soldier before he mowed down 21-year-old corporal Abhimanyu Gaud.

Breaking police barricades, Sambia, son of former Rashtriya Janata Dal legislator Mohammad Sohrab, is said to have knocked down Gaud, who was supervising Republic Day parade rehearsals on the Indira Gandhi Sarani. Gaud was taken to hospital where doctors declared him dead.

After hearing both sides, the judge rejected the bail plea and sent him to police custody for m further interrogation.

Sambia was arrested late on Saturday night from the city after being in hiding for four days along with his brother Ambia and father since the accident.

Police had issued a look-out notice against the trio on Thursday.

Samia was interrogated through the night till early Sunday, with a police officer saying he was not cooperating in the probe.

Before his arrest, Samia had been trying to sneak into the neighbouring states to escape police.

There were also allegations that the influential family had tried to pressurise one of his friends to name someone else as the driver of the vehicle when the incident occurred.

The case has created a political storm with the opposition parties claiming that police delayed Samia's arrest as his father was a leader of West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress.

However, the Trinamool has denied its links with Sohrab and pointed to the fact that he had become a state legislator in 2005 with support from the Communist Party of India-Marxist led Left Front.

The IAF, which is also probing the matter, too earlier claimed "vested interests" were thwarting the probe.

"There is a set of people, for their vested interest, they do not want the investigation to proceed," said an IAF officer.

IANS

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