HMT accident: Army driver gets bail

Srinagar: A local court here on Monday granted bail to an army driver, who was arrested by police last week for his involvement in the deadly accident that left seven people including a pregnant woman dead on the outskirts of Srinagar.
Chief Judicial Magistrate Srinagar, Virender Singh Bhou admitted the driver to bail against the bond of Rs 20,000 and set of several conditions after army claimed that the liberty of accused cannot be curtailed on “flimsy grounds.”
The conditions include that the Commanding Officer of the unit shall produce the driver before investigating officer if and when required reasonably; he shall not temper with the evidence or hamper the investigation directly or indirectly, and he shall not leave the territorial jurisdiction of the court without prior permission.
Havaldar Krishan Singh of 51 Rashtriya Rifles was arrested by police immediately he rammed the army crane (recovery van—No.01P013854W) into the Tavera (JK01P-1464) at Zainakote HMT in the outskirts of Srinagar, killing seven persons.
The order was passed by the court hearing the application and the objections by the prosecution.
Chief Prosecuting Officer (CPO) stated that the driver does not deserve any concession under law as the strong prima facie case (FIR no. 139/2014) stands registered against him under RPC sections of 304A and others.
“The offence committed by the (driver) is heinous in nature and non-bailable one,” the CPO said, demanding rejection of bail application.
On the other hand, the army driver submitted that he is “deeply rooted in the society and there are mitigating and extenuating circumstances which lean in (my) favour.”
The driver said his liberty cannot be curtailed on “flimsy grounds” even as investigation is almost complete. He said he was ready to abide to by rules and regulations if enlarged on bail.
Further, the driver said, he is subject to the Army Act and “cannot afford to escape from clutches of law or investigation.”
“Though the offence alleged to have been committed by the accused is non-bailable in nature, it is not punishable exclusively with life imprisonment, as such the driver is presumed to be innocent till guilt is proved against him,” the court observed.
“There is nothing on record to suggest that if the accused is released on bail, he will tamper with evidence or hamper the investigation. (He) is in custody since July 16 and there are mitigating and extenuating circumstances which lean in (his) favour. As such, no useful purpose would be served by keeping him in police custody,” it said.