Aug22, 2009 (New Delhi) Sanjeev Nanda, convicted for a 5-year jail term for mowing down six persons, including three policemen on Lodhi Road on January 10, 1999 was freed from jail. Delhi High Court had last month reduced his sentence from five years to two years. However, he had to spend only four-and-half months in jail after the deduction of 19 months he remained behind the bars during trial. According to court, two-year jail term ended due to his good conduct, a senior jail official said on Saturday.
Sanjeev Nanda is primarily arms dealer and the grandson of an ex-Chief of Naval from New Delhi. Sanjeev has been convicted for running over and killing six people, including three policemen. The case attracted enormous media attention, and was viewed by many as “a test of the judicial system’s ability to take on the powerful” Nanda is also one of the principals in the weapon trading firm Crown Corporation started by his father, Lt. Commander Suresh Nanda (ex-Indian Navy). He also owns several hotels.
Nanda walked free from Tihar Jail No 4, where he was lodged, Tihar Jail spokesperson Sunil Gupta said. Tihar Jail Superintendent granted him remission for his “good conduct” during his stay in the jail, he said. According to rules, a convict can earn three months of remission every year if he conducts himself in a positive manner.
Sanjeev Nanda, a management graduate from INSEAD and Wharton, was allegedly in a drunken state when he drove his BMW car at high speed through a police checkpoint at 4:50 AM early morning of January 10, 1999. After running through the policemen, he allegedly stopped the car to check the damage, saw people under the car, and according to the prosecution, at this point co-passenger Manik Kapoor said: ‘‘Let’s go,’’ and they quickly drove away. The car was later cleaned up by servants at a friend’s house.
In the initial court case, Sanjeev and five others were acquitted after many years because the court did not find any of the witnesses reliable and the defense was able to make the case that it was perhaps a truck and not the BMW that had caused the deaths. All the accused were released, resulting in a sharp drop in public confidence in the legal system, since it was widely believed that the witnesses had been bought off.
Following the media hue and cry, another court in September 2008 sentenced him to five years in jail. The court also convicted three others, head of General Motor Finance Rajiv Gupta and his two servants Bhola Nath and Shyam Singh — for destruction of evidence as they had washed the blood stains and victims’ flesh pieces from the offending vehicle at a house in Golf Links area here.
On Dec 19, 2009, The Delhi High Court Justice Kailash Gambhir granted three-week interim bail to Sanjeev Nanda, undergoing five years jail term in the BMW hit-and-run case. “It is well-known that Admiral Nanda, had served the nation and was a 1971 war hero. In order to help the 1971 war hero to meet his grandson, three weeks interim bail is granted to Nanda,” the court said. Again on March 2009, the same judge granted one week interim jail to Sanjeev Nanda.
Also, in March 2008, Sanjeev Nanda and his father Suresh Nanda were also arrested in Mumbai in connection with the Barak Missile Scandal, in which Crown Corporation allegedly paid large bribes to politicians and defence officials. He is also a British national. Suresh, the son of the former Navy Chief, Admiral S.M. Nanda, is alleged to have received over 450 crore rupees in kickbacks. Former Defence Minister George Fernandes and the then Naval Chief Admiral Susheel Kumar are also accused in the Rs 1,150 crore Barak missile deal.
Nanda is also an accused in a case involving the purchase of Armoured Recovery Vehicles.