Porsche crash row: Fadnavis rushes to Pune police chief’s office, says police acted correctly

Mumbai, May 21 (IANS) Rattled by growing public outrage over the hit-and-run accident by a drunken minor driving a Porsche that left two techies dead, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday made a surprise visit to the Pune Police Commissionerate to take stock of the case status and said that the police had dealt correctly with the sensational matter.

Fadnavis met the Commissioner of Police Amitesh Kumar, Joint Commissioner of Police, Crime, Shailesh Balkawade and other officials who gave him a detailed briefing on the case which has snowballed into a political issue.

Later, speaking to media persons, he said that the Pune police had correctly invoked the Indian Penal Code’s Section 304, and urged the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) to treat the accused – 17 years and 8 months old – as an adult since he was involved in a heinous crime.

“I examined the JJB’s order and found it astonishing how they could treat such a serious case in this manner… we consider it shocking,” Fadnavis said.

He said that three accused – owners and managers of the hotel and the pub – who were arrested early on Tuesday in the case, have been sent to police custody till April 24 by a Pune court.

Cosie Bar and Restaurant owner Prahlad Bhutada, manager Sachin Katkar, and bartender Sandeep Sangle were taken into custody for allegedly serving alcohol illegally to a minor customer and his friends, and the premises were raided and sealed by the Excise Department this afternoon.

Fadnavis said that the police have challenged the JJB in a higher court which has sent the matter back for a review by the JJB and the latter is expected to reconsider its order in a day or so.

“The police are very firm that they will go to all lengths to ensure justice in this matter that has resulted in the public outrage. They have already invoked IPC Section 304 at the beginning, there was no pressure or delay or afterthought,” he said.

On the allegations by the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi leaders like Congress’ Vijay Wadettiwar, Pune MLA Ravindra Dhangekar, and Shiv Sena-UBT MP Sanjay Raut that the accused was served pizzas after he was taken into detention when two bodies were lying outside, Fadnavis said that the police station’s CCTV footage will be scrutinised and anyone found guilty shall be punished.

He said that the Pune Municipal Corporation, Pune Police and State Excise Department will also examine issues of public concern like the locations of bars and pubs in residential localities, no check on age or I-cards of customers, etc, and proceed against those flouting norms strictly, including shutting down such establishments.

–IANS

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