Third accused nabbed in Kolkata hit-and-run, sent to custody

Kolkata, Jan 19 (IANS) The city police on Tuesday arrested a youth in the sensational hit-and-run case in which an IAF corporal was mowed down here last week, taking the total arrests to three.

The arrest of Johnny on Tuesday morning follows that of Shanu alias Sahanawaz, who was nabbed on Sunday night from New Delhi by a team of Kolkata Police.

The two were presented before a city court which rejected their bail pleas and sent them to police custody till January 30.

Confirming the arrest, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Debasish Boral told IANS that Johnny was picked up by police from the city’s Ekbalpore area.

Countering the police claims, Johnny in a video said he surrendered before police.

In the video aired by a regional news channel right after the arrest, Johnny is seen walking into the Ekbalpore police station, sayin

g: “I am going to surrender before the police.”

His family members claimed Johnny went into hiding in Ranchi after the accident but came back to the city to surrender and cooperate in the police investigation.

Police have refused to comment on Johnny’s surrender claims.

Referring to the police claims that Sambia was driving the car which fatally knocked down IAF corporal Abhimanyu Gaud, the counsel pressed for the bail of Shanu and Johnny contending they were not involved in the crime.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sanjay Ranjan Pal, however, accepted the prosecution’s plea and remanded both Shanu and Johnny in police custody till January 30.

Sambia, the son of former Rashtriya Janata Dal legislator Mohammad Sohrab, driving his car is alleged to have broken through police barricades before fatally knocking down Gaud on the morning of January 13 on the Indira Gandhi Sarani.

Both Shanu and Johnny were said have been with him on the night before Sambia allegedly mowed down Gaud as he was supervising the Republic Day parade rehearsals.

Shanu, who was brought to the city by police on Monday night, claimed that Sambia was driving the car.

Also, in a video posted on YouTube earlier in the week, Johnny claimed that Sambia was heavily drunk and that he had a brawl with friends before he took the wheel of the car and allegedly knocked down Gaud.

In the video, Johnny claimed that he and Shanu were in another car following Sambia in his car. He also claimed that his car was stopped by police from entering the Indira Gandhi Sarani which was out of bounds for civilian traffic for the Republic Day parade rehearsals.

“It was only later in the day that we found out that all this happened and came to know that police were looking for us,” Johnny said in the video.

Accused of several offences including murder, Sambia who was arrested four days after the accident, is now in police custody.

The prosecution has also accused him of hitting another soldier before ramming his car into Gaud.

Police have also issued a look-out notice for Sambia’s father Mohammad Sohrab and brother Ambia, who are still 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 out that he had become a state legislator in 2006 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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