Worli jogger accident: Driver claims he was not under influence of alcohol at the time of accident
Meanwhile, Merchant was produced before the Dadar Metropolitan Magistrate court on Wednesday. The court remanded the 23-year-old Tardeo resident to judicial custody for 14 days after which the accused filed for bail. The court posted his plea for hearing on Thursday
MUMBAI: The 23-year-old arrested accused Sumer Dharmesh Merchant, who was driving the car that crashed and killed a 57-year-old jogger Rajalakshmi Ramakrishnan in Worli on March 19, claimed before the police that he was not under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident. He confessed to drinking the previous night at a party with his friends.
Police officials said he claimed that after the party he slept and was normal by the time he woke up.
According to police, the accused returned from the USA recently and after the trip, he experienced jet lag and was sleep deprived. The police said after the house party, he had gone to Kamala Mills Compound to eat something.
The police said the accused claimed that he had drinks on Saturday night, but only before 8pm.
“Merchant told us that after spending time with friends, he slept for some time and later when his friend Riya Bhatia expressed her desire to go home, he insisted on dropping her. He claimed that he was normal by midnight,” said a police officer, adding, “Merchant said his trip to the USA was very tiring and after that, he had arranged the party, he was sleep deprived, tired and also had jet lag and therefore, we suspect he perhaps dozed off which resulted in the accident.”
Meanwhile, Merchant was produced before the Dadar Metropolitan Magistrate court on Wednesday. The court remanded the 23-year-old Tardeo resident to judicial custody for 14 days after which the accused filed for bail. The court posted his plea for hearing on Thursday.
Investigating officer of the case, Santosh Mane, however, told the court that Riya Bhatia, the colleague whom Merchant was going to drop in Dadar, had asked him not to speed up. The officer also informed the court that there are no CCTV cameras covering the spot of the incident. He added that they have taken Merchant’s blood samples for a blood-alcohol test and are awaiting the report.
Advocate Hemant Ingle, who is representing the husband of the victim, Rajalakshmi Vijay Ramakrishnan, informed the court that the accused got drunk the previous night, according to a witness. Ingle said that Merchant had taken a route from the Worli Dairy instead of taking the straight route to Dadar and it appeared that he wanted to impress his friends by speeding the car.
After hearing the argument, the court sent Merchant to judicial custody for 14 days after which his counsel Anjali Patil moved a bail application. The plea has been kept for hearing on Thursday.
On Sunday morning, Merchant’s Tata Nexon EV hit Ramakrishnan alias Raji, CEO of a tech firm near Worli Dairy. The impact was so strong that she was flung into the air and landed more than 20 feet away and died. The Worli police arrested Merchant in the case.