Mercedes Car Crash: Nagpur Court Terms Woman Driver’s Arrest Unlawful, Orders Her Release

A court in Maharashtra’s Nagpur district has recently ordered the release of Ritika alias Ritu Maloo on Tuesday, deeming her arrest unlawful.

Case Insights

Maloo is accused of driving her Mercedes under the influence of alcohol and causing a fatal accident that killed two men in Nagpur in February.

Maloo surrendered to the police on Monday, more than four months after the incident, and was subsequently arrested. However, the court of the 7th Judicial Magistrate First Class A V Khedkar-Garad declared the arrest unlawful and ordered her immediate release.

The court also instructed that a copy of the order be sent to the police commissioner for appropriate action against the investigating officer responsible for the unlawful arrest.

The incident occurred on February 25 on Nagpur’s Ram Jhula bridge, where Maloo allegedly drove her car recklessly under the influence of alcohol and crashed into two men on a scooter, Mohd Hussain Gulam Mustafa and Mohd Ateef Mohd Zia, who sustained fatal injuries.

Maloo was initially granted bail by another court on February 27. On March 7, the police informed the court that they had added Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code to the charges.

“Maloo was released on bail and thereafter new non-bailable and cognisable offences were added. It is also a matter of record that an application for the cancellation of the bail filed by the Investigation Officer (IO) is rejected and the revision as per say of APP and IO is pending,” the JMFC court stated on Tuesday.

What Court Says?

The court explained that the investigating officer (IO) needed prior permission from the court that had granted Maloo bail to arrest her again, according to Section 437(5) and Section 439(2) of the CrPC. Referring to the case of Pradeep Ram Vs State of Jharkhand, the court noted that such permission had not been obtained.

“But such permission is not seen to be taken by IO before arresting Maloo. Merely because anticipatory bail applications of the accused were rejected, it will not allow IO to arrest the accused without following the procedure provided by the statute. Hence the said arrest is not seen to be lawful,” the judge noted.

The court directed the police to release Maloo immediately and a copy of the order to be sent to the police commissioner for appropriate action against the Investigating Officer responsible for the unlawful arrest.

Late last month, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court refused pre-arrest bail to Maloo, stating that “no prudent person drives under the influence of alcohol” and termed it serious misconduct.

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About the Author: Meera Verma