Karan Taneja, March 7, 2013
Amar has been rotting away in jail for the past 36 months. Even as fast-track courts successfully solve hundreds of cases daily, he has been crying hoarse pleading not guilty to his alleged crime for three years.
His terrible offence: Drunken driving. His unbelievable defence: He was just avoiding potholes on the road. Our reporters met traffic police officers who claim to have caught him.
“We were standing by at our usual spot when we saw this car going zip zap through this road even though it was moving quite slowly,” an officer said. “First of all, no one in their right mind would drive on this road. That’s why we chose this road for our duty. His decision to drive on this road is alone proof that he was drunk, he even agreed to the breathalyzer test himself.”
The officer claimed Amar was the first person he knew who willingly agreed to the breathalyzer test. He even showed initiative by grabbing the device and putting it into his mouth. That was enough for the police: “People had to have no sense at all to agree to this test and it confirmed our suspicion that he was drunk,” the officer said. “We nabbed him on the spot and took him to the station, avoiding potholes to the best of our abilities.”
Amar appealed and appealed and appealed, but at every attempt, his trial was shifted to another date because the judges could not make up their minds. It was later found that the judges lived in the posh areas of Delhi and were dropped and fetched in chauffeur-driven cars. They laughed at his blatant statements about the condition of the road, Amar told us in jail.
On Amar’s suggestion, our reporters took the brave step of travelling that road on foot. It’s safe to say we regretted it the instant we saw it. Nevertheless, we interviewed the sparse population that travelled this road. To provide substance to our venture, we met people who actually drive drunk. They gave us weird looks and said they were too scared to drive on that road. By accident, we met an engineering student who was going on that road. He said he used that stretch to test his self-developed moon cart. “It offers better testing surface than the moon,” he said.
People deal with it like they have for years. They drive by and around the potholes. And Amar lives in the hope that one day, some big-time hotshot will travel that road and feel his pain. And then, maybe then, the judge and jury might believe his story.