Kolkata hit-and-run case suspect’s friend held in Delhi (Third Lead)

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Kolkata/New Delhi, Jan 18 (IANS) Stepping up its probe, a Kolkata Police team arrested a youth from Delhi in connection with the sensational hit-and-run case in which an IAF corporal was mowed down in the West Bengal capital.

He was killed while supervising the Republic Day Parade rehearsal in the eastern metropolis last week.

A Kolkata STF team arrested Shanu alias Shahnawaz, a friend of prime accused Sambia Sohrab, from his hideout at a relative’s place in New Delhi’s Alipur area on Sunday night, a Delhi Police officer told IANS.

Said to be a key witness to the January 13 accident in which 21-year-old Corporal Abhimanyu Gaud was mowed down, police have secured Shanu’s transit remand and are taking him back to Kolkata.

“He has been arrested as an accomplice. His interrogation is likely to throw more light into the incident,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Debasish Boral told IANS in Kolkata.

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Shanu is the second person to be arrested in the case after prime accused Sambia Sohrab was held in the West Bengal capital on Saturday, four days after the hit-and-run incident on Indira Gandhi Sarani that has been hogging the limelight nationally.

“We have secured his transit remand till January 20. We are bringing him back to the city,” added the officer.

Through his counsel, he has assured full cooperation with police.

“We don’t know as of now on what charges he has been arrested. But he will fully cooperate with the investigation,” his counsel Danish said.

Shanu, it is said, was accompanying Sambia on the night before the incident. Sambia is the son of former Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) legislator Mohammad Sohrab.

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Shanu’s brother Khalid had claimed that the Sohrabs have been pressurising the family to name Shanu as the one behind the wheels of the Audi sports utility vehicle that broke through police barricades before fatally knocking down Gaud who was rushed to hospital but declared brought dead.

Khalid had repeatedly claimed to the media that a drunk Sambia had a brawl with Shanu and another friend, Johnny, before the accident.

Shanu’s family had also filed a police complaint after he went missing since the morning of the accident. The third friend Johnny continues to be untraceable.

Gaud hailed from Surat in Gujarat and was stationed at the Kaliakunda air base. He was in the city as a drill instructor for the Republic Day Parade.

Sambia was sent to 14-day police remand on Sunday. The prosecution has alleged that Sambia, drunk when he took the steering wheel of the car, had hit another soldier before ramming his car into Gaud.

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Police have also issued a look-out notice for Sambia’s father Mohammad Sohrab and brother Ambia who are still missing and untraced.

The case has created a political storm with the opposition parties claiming that police delayed Sambia’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 Indian Air Force, which is also probing the matter, too earlier claimed “vested interests” were thwarting the probe.

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