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Pune Porsche Crash: Aunt of 17-Year-Old Seeks High Court Intervention, Claims Illegal Detention

The paternal aunt of the 17-year-old involved in the Pune Porsche Crash that killed two young software engineers in Pune’s Kalyani Nagar last month has approached the Bombay High Court, demanding her nephew’s immediate release, arguing that his remand to an observation home is illegal.

On Wednesday, the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) of Pune extended the minor’s remand in the observation home for another 14 days, until June 25. This follows his initial remand, which began on May 22 and was extended to June 12. The minor faces charges of causing death by negligence after allegedly driving his Porsche over two IT professionals, Ashwini Koshta and Aneesh Awadhiya, while purportedly intoxicated in the early hours of May 19.

The aunt contends in her petition that the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act was not properly applied. She also claims that the investigation was skewed due to public and media pressure, including attempts to prosecute the minor as an adult. She describes the incident as a tragic accident and notes that the minor was charged under bailable sections.

The petition further alleges that the minor was subjected to mob violence following the incident and was illegally detained until the following day despite being previously interrogated by the police. It asserts that his subsequent remand and detention in the observation home, after initially being released to his grandfather, is unlawful.

Additionally, the petition states that the minor’s family members, including his mother, father, and grandfather, were also arrested for allegedly contributing to his reckless behavior. It criticizes the investigating agency for not properly applying Section 439 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), calling the agency’s plea legally unsustainable.

Filed by advocate Swapnil Ambure, the petition emphasizes the need to protect the minor under the Juvenile Justice Act to prevent him from becoming a hardened criminal. It claims, “Publicly available material shows that not only the minor and his family are being targeted, but even a judicial officer and the judiciary are mocked in a highly contemptuous manner. Thankfully, there is no question of a judicial officer’s integrity.”

The petition continues, “Therefore, the intervention of the High Court in this case is essential to uphold the spirit of justice. If an offence is alleged, there is a legal process in place which must be followed, regardless of media pressure.”

However, on Friday, the court declined to grant immediate relief for the minor’s release, scheduling the plea for consideration on June 20. Public Prosecutor Hiten Venegaonkar, representing the state, questioned the petition’s maintainability, asserting that the minor is in legal custody.

The aunt also seeks to quash the orders of May 22 and June 4, 2024, issued by the Magistrate of the Juvenile Justice Board Pune, which mandate psychological and de-addiction counseling, calling them illegal. Pending the resolution of the plea, she urges the court for the minor’s temporary release from what she describes as ‘unlawful’ detention.

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