New Delhi: From Modern School to Wharton and now to jail. It has been a road riddled with blood and bribery for Delhi businessman Sanjeev Nanda who was on Tuesday held guilty of running over six people in his BMW car on that January night in 1999.
The grandson of former navy chief S.M. Nanda, the son of arms dealer Suresh Nanda, a British national, a student of Delhi's elite Modern School and a management student from Wharton, one of the finest B schools in the US, life could probably not have got better for Nanda.
Until that night of January 10, 1999, when he was returning from a party in Gurgaon, the upcoming suburb of the national capital, with his friends Manik Kapoor and Siddharth Gupta in luxury car. A drunk Nanda was on the wheel and Kapoor was next to him when the car ran over six people, including three policemen, in south Delhi's Lodhi Colony area.
The accident hit the headlines, as a classic case of the rich recklessly playing with the lives of the poor.
Then 22, Nanda was supposed to hold his birthday bash a week later. The next day, he was supposed to fly back to complete his final semester at Wharton. He had probably planned his life as investment banker in Manhattan.
But that was not to be.
On Tuesday, the long awaited verdict declaring him guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder was widely welcomed. He now faces a maximum punishment up to 10 years with fine or without fine in the much-publicised hit and run case.
The regular Page 3 celeb, Nanda did spend a few months in jail but was released on bail in May 1999.
He was set a surety of Rs 45 crore, subsequently reduced to Rs15 crore.
"During his small stay in Delhi's high security Tihar jail, Nanda, who once fancied himself as former tennis champion Andre Agassi, took computer classes in jail along with a drug peddler Leo Sandegaznier. They taught other inmates in jail," said a senior jail official.
During the trial. Nanda admitted before the court that he had consumed beer on the night accident but denied any connection with the accident. He said in a written reply to the court that the car belonged to his sister Sonali Nanda.
During the course of investigation, it was found that Nanda held British citizenship.
According to sources, Nandas have paid Rs.1 million each to the families of the victims without the court's directions,
After the accident, there was considerable debate about the Nandas and their source of immense wealth. His father Lt Commander Suresh Nanda (ex-Indian Navy) heads the arms supply firm Crown Corporation, and grandfather S M Nanda also joined the arms trading business after retirement.
A year after the accident, the names of his father and grandfather appeared in the Barak Missile case. The defence corruption scandal relates to the purchase of Barak Missile Systems by India from Israel.
The case is currently under investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation, and several people including the Samata Party ex-treasurer R K Jain have been arrested.
In March this year, Sanjeev Nanda and his father were arrested for allegedly trying to bribe an income-tax official in Mumbai and were remanded to 14 days judicial custody in Tihar.
Clearly, more than one road led the scion of the powerful and high profile Nanda family to Tihar.