Asked not to smoke in public, ‘drunk’ lawyer mows down 21-year-old biker; held

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The student, Gurpreet Singh, who was in a coma since Sunday, succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday

Angry at being asked not to smoke in public, a ‘drunk lawyer’ allegedly rammed his car into the motorcycle of a 21-year-old photography student near the AIIMS Trauma Centre in south Delhi on Sunday.

The student, Gurpreet Singh, who was in coma since Sunday, succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday. The lawyer has been arrested.

Police had initially booked the accused, Rohit Krishna Mahanta, for rash driving and causing hurt by an act of negligence, and he was released on bail. But after the victim died, the police again arrested Mahanta and slapped charges of murder on him.

The accused lawyer is working under a standing counsel of the Assam government.

The victim’s family alleged that police had initially tried to ignore the true facts of the case and tried to pass it off as a simple case of accident, which resulted in the lawyer getting the bail. However, once the victim’s friend, who was also injured in the accident, narrated the incident on Wednesday and the case was highlighted by media, Delhi police booked the lawyer for murder.

Singh, a native of Bhatinda in Punjab, had been pursuing a photography course from Delhi College of Photography in north Delhi. He lived with his classmate Maninder Singh in a rented accommodation in Shahbad Dairy.

To shoot a documentary on the lives of outstation patients and their relatives, the duo visited the AIIMS in the early hours of Sunday. Once done with their work at around 3.30am, they had decided to have paranthas outside the hospital.

They got into the confrontation after the dinner.

“The man was smoking a cigarette and blowing the smoke into our faces. The smoke not only caused us physical problem, it was also against our religious belief. So, we requested him to avoid smoking in public,” Maninder told Hindustan Times.

But the request was allegedly met with verbal abuse and death threats. Sensing that the argument was turning violent, the two friends reportedly picked up their Bullet motorcycle and left.

They barely rode 500 metres when a speeding Ford Fiesta, allegedly the same one that was parked next to their Bullet at the eatery, rammed them from behind outside AIIMS trauma centre. Before coming to a halt, the car also went on to hit an auto and an Ola cab, leaving both the vehicles badly damaged.

“Gurpreet and I were thrown off the bike. When I got up, I saw a man coming out of the Ford Fiesta. It was the same man who had threatened us minutes ago. He had chased us and hit us intentionally,” alleged Maninder.

As Maninder sought an auto driver’s help to move his friend to the trauma centre nearby, public gathered at the spot and thrashed Mahanta, a native of Assam and a resident of south Delhi’s Defence Colony.

“His medical examination showed he was drunk. He had threatened Gurpreet after an argument and later he followed Gurpreet’s bike and rammed it from behind,” said Chinmoy Biswal, additional DCP (south).