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Two years after Gurgaon's BMW hit and run case: Where is justice for the victims Kshama and Shailesh?
May 05, 2011 hardly rings a bell for you or me, but it is embedded into the minds of Shailesh Shetye as it changed his life forever. In what seemed like a blink of an eye, the whole world changed for him and Kshama's family. On that day at 12:10 pm, Kshama, her husband Shailesh and her parents, and their driver were returning from Medanta Medicity after visiting doctor.

At the IFFCO Chowk intersection a BMW coming at a speed of around 100 kmph rammed into their Indigo, which instantly killing Kshama, her unborn child and their driver, while leaving the others with brain injuries. Shailesh's loss became 'BMW hit and run case of Gurgaon' for the commoners.

Had the real accused been brought to justice as quickly as the Nirbhaya's case, a strong positive message could had been sent to the citizens. It probably would have discouraged many repeat offenders too and at the same time could have developed a positive brand image for the Gurgaon Police.

Speedy Driving in Gurgaon- The powerful rich and mighty do get away with speed driving and accidents. This is the picture not only from Kshama's case but from repeated offences that make news headlines in India. The law and order situation with regard to traffic rules and commuter safety is very bad in India over-all and Gurgaon in particular.

The seriousness of the situation gets compounded in places like Gurgaon (Metros in general) because the spending power has increased, the new toys in the form of sports cars at the reach of the newly rich have increased, where as there is no comparable improvement in infrastructure, implementation of traffic rules and punishment of offenders.

Comparison of Traffic Police's role in India and US- India should send a team to perform a case study of the Traffic laws and implementation in the US. While at a general level, the laws are much more powerful and people are much more law abiding in the US, it is the rigorous implementation that makes sure that offenses are kept to the minimum.

By gods mercy, I have not been a party to a life changing incident, like Shailesh had, but at a very basic level, the system is just better here. I think one of the key differentiators is the process of issuing traffic tickets and filing police report right at the time of the incident, so that information is captured in a very speedy manner.

The law enforcers issue tickets, but the collection of fines is done by the court, so there are no opportunities of bribing the police officer as he is not supposed to be collecting a fine. On the other hand, the police makes sure that they issue you a ticket as they work against a quota of issuing tickets and will not take money in place of issuing a ticket as they have to meet their ticket targets. All this is to say that if there is proper separation of duties and proper checks and balances, any process can be made better. Transparency, better systems, integrity and a general will power to improve goes a long way.

How it changed the life of Shailesh Shetye- Shailesh is literally learning to live his life all over again. The nightmare had just started for him in 2011, and continues. Kshama was his best friend, soul mate, sweetheart and wife. He falls short of words to describe her and takes every breath as a tribute to her memory. We all and he believes that Kshama lives on through him, in him and this is something that gives him strength to carry on.

Though nothing ever is going to bring back Kshama again, at least a speedy trial and justice for Kshama will help in bringing some kind of closure for Shailesh. Initially there was a lot of delay in filing a correct charge-sheet against the accused and then there was major delay in accepting Shailesh’s testimony as a prime witness in the case. There have been instances when after an excruciating wait for the next court date the court adjourns without any progress in the case.

At close to 2 years since the incident, it gives us comfort if the court dates come in quick succession. There have been a date in November 2013, December 2013 and the next one is todayon  Jan 27th 2014. Shailesh has consistently tried to put his full faith in the justice system and hopes that the system will not fail him.

Friends for life-
The alumni group is a close group of friends from Shailesh’s engineering and MBA colleges. They all are heartbroken at the tragedy that took place in their friend’s life and have been very solid in their support for Shailesh’s fight for justice. They all believe that truth ultimately comes to light, even if it takes time and the guilty get the punishment.

Everyone will rally behind Shailesh in this fight till the time the case gets closed and contribute in every manner possible while he is trying to rebuild his life. Correct process, speedy charge sheet and speedy trial in a fast track court would have improved the confidence level of the citizens and patience is being tested but Team Shailesh has vowed not to sit back and let the accused get away with normal life while Shailesh and Kshama’s near and dear ones suffer.

The current stature of the case- Shailesh feels that the case is moving at a much better pace with 3 hearing in the last 3 months. An incorrect charge-sheet was filed initially but was corrected subsequently after dogged representations by Team Shailesh. We hope that truth sees the light of the day and the guilty are sentenced, which will help Shailesh draw some kind of peace. What he has lost by the reckless behavior of someone will never ever come back to him. The next hearing which is today on January 27th, 2014, is ironically Shailesh’s and Kshama’s 8th wedding anniversary.

After losing Kshama in a horrific accident in Gurgaon, recently Shailesh lost Kshama's mother as well. On his Facebook page, he has written, “After the long battle fighting the severe accident injuries, Kshama's mother finally gave up. After Kshama and the driver Sanjay Gulati, this is now the 3rd life claimed by the horrible accident that we suffered on 5th May 2012. And then there is my unborn who never saw the light of the day and doesn't even get counted. Do we still think this is a negligent driving? Then please explain me what is a murder. Feeling so hopeless again that we lost another battle. Mummy, rest in peace. We will always miss you. Hope you are at a better place and more peaceful now then in this hopeless world.”

(The author is one of the close friends of Shailesh and Kshama Shetye. She lives in the US but she is always beside Shailesh and believes firmly that one day Shailesh and Kshama will surely get justice)

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