Trial against 7 accused in Kanjhawala case in Delhi to begin

Sep 21, 2023 03:46 AM IST

The accused are facing charges of murder, tampering with evidence, criminal conspiracy, and giving false information.

Delhi’s Rohini Court will begin the trial against seven people accused in the gruesome Kanjhawala hit-and-drag case from September 21, as per a previous order by the court on August 23.

FSL officials inspect the Maruti Suzuki Baleno that dragged Anjali Kumari for three hours over 13km in January. (HT Archive)
FSL officials inspect the Maruti Suzuki Baleno that dragged Anjali Kumari for three hours over 13km in January. (HT Archive)

In the early hours of January 1, a Maruti Suzuki Baleno car hit 20-year-old Anjali Kumari when she was on her way home on her scooter. Anjali’s leg got stuck on the underside of the car, and she was dragged for nearly three hours on a stretch of over 13 kilometres.

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According to the post-mortem report, Kumari suffered at least 40 grievous wounds. Her skull was fractured and some brain matter was missing, her ribs were exposed from the back, and she suffered deep-cut wounds on both arms and forehead. The report said Kumari’s death was caused by shock and haemorrhage due to the injuries to her head, spine, and limbs.

READ | Accused could save Kanjhawala victim, but chose to drive on, say Delhi Police

The Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) on January 12 directed the Delhi Police to invoke murder charges against the accused.

Delhi Police, in their 800-page charge sheet filed on April 1, said the four men in the car — Amit Khanna, Krishan, Manoj Mittal and Mithun — had knowledge that Anjali was stuck under the car as they had stopped the vehicle 500-600 metres from the place of the accident and three of them got off and checked whether she was still stuck under the car or not.

The document further said that the accused had ample opportunities to save her, but they intentionally and knowingly dragged her for a long distance to kill her, which was made certain by their offending act.

READ | Kanjhawala case: 4 of 7 accused face murder charges in Delhi

The Delhi Police said that the guilty intent of the accused became clear when the car was driven, dragging the woman, as the crime has been committed in two parts — first, when she was hit by the car and second, when the accused dragged her for a long distance in order to cause her death and for the disappearance of evidence.

The charge sheet said the act was so imminently dangerous that it was sufficient to cause the death, or cause such bodily injury which was likely to cause death, which is why section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code has been invoked against the four. It was further stated that the remaining three accused —Deepak Khanna, Ashutosh and Ankush, who helped the men in the car — have not been booked under IPC section 302, but were charged with tampering of evidence, criminal conspiracy, and giving false information.

Additional sessions judge (ASJ) Neeraj Gaur, during the last hearing on August 23, found sufficient evidence being placed on record against the accused, and framed charges against Amit, Mittal, Krishan and Mithun under sections 302 (murder), 201 (disappearance of evidence or giving false information), 212 (harbouring offender), 182 (false information, with intent to cause public servant to use his lawful power to the injury of another person), 34 (act done by several person in furtherance of common intention)IPC r/w Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The court additionally framed charges under sections 279 (rash driving), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) of IPC and sections 3 (necessity for driving licence), 181 (driving vehicle without licence or while being below age limit) and 185 (driving by a drunken person or by a person under the influence of drugs) of the Motor Vehicle Act (MV Act) against Amit.

The police are relying upon the statements of 117 witnesses including eyewitnesses, CCTV footage, fingerprints lifted from the vehicle, forensic reports, and matching DNA profiles to prove the charges against the accused.

Amit, Mittal, Krishan, and Mithun, who are currently in judicial custody, are now facing trial for offences for which the maximum punishment is the death penalty, while Deepak, Ankush, and Ashutosh, who are out on bail, face trial for offences for which the maximum sentence is of seven years.

ASJ Gaur will conduct the trial in the matter beginning with prosecution evidence and has summoned three prosecution witnesses for their examination.

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