The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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A night in the cooler, air cooler for company
- Pataudi surrenders, says gun belongs to Soha and he was not in the car with carcasses

New Delhi, June 18: It’s a far cry from the luxurious havelis and farmhouses he is used to ' or even a cricket pavilion. Nor, behind a barred door, will it feel much like a hunter’s jungle camp, with its sense of earthy freshness.

It’s into this stuffy police lock-up at Jhajjar that Mansur Ali Khan, the Nawab of Pataudi, was led today to spend the night.

The former Test cricket captain had ended days of hiding to surrender before the local court in a black buck killing case this morning, a day after Punjab and Haryana High Court refused him anticipatory bail.

The local court, which was told that Pataudi had gone to Jhajjar two weeks ago not to hunt but to picnic with his friends, gave him a 24-hour police remand.

The Nawab would not be put in a regular cell like a common criminal, the Jhajjar superintendent of police told reporters. “A police lock-up is different,” Hanif Qureshi said. “He will be kept in the Jhajjar police station. There is a little room with a bed and a chair. No TV or radio.

“We are giving him Bisleri water and food. There is no air-conditioner, but we have provided him with a cooler.”

Pataudi told the court that the licence for the .22-bore gun he was carrying belonged to daughter Soha Ali Khan; but he was the retainer of the gun. He said he wasn’t in the car where the carcasses of a black buck and two rabbits were found on June 3, but in the accompanying car. Both vehicles had been stopped by police.

Pataudi’s lawyer Shyam Sunder Goel rebutted the claim of Madan Singh ' the only one of the eight accused who had been arrested before today ' that it was the Nawab who had shot the black buck, an endangered species.

“The post-mortem has not found any bullet in the buck,” Goel pointed out. “According to the report, the buck died of haemorrhage. Its throat was slit and its trachea (windpipe) and jugular vein had been cut. The hares, however, had inlet and outlet wounds of a bullet.”

Asked if Pataudi would move court for bail tomorrow, Qureshi said: “We expect him to, but he is unlikely to get it as the high court has already rejected his anticipatory bail plea. In that case, he could be sent to judicial remand and be lodged in Rohtak Jail.”

Pataudi, who arrived in a green kurta and white pyjamas, didn’t seem to be expecting a long stay in custody, though.

“He didn’t bring any extra set of clothes. He had his own medicines. He was very calm and composed,” Qureshi said.

With no TV or radio in his room, how is the Nawab expected to kill time'

“He won’t have much time,” the officer said. “He will be busy with his lawyer; then he will have dinner and go to sleep. He will get up (in the morning) and around 10 or 11 am, he will be produced in court.”

Qureshi, who said no one from Pataudi’s family had accompanied him or visited him till evening, added he would send the Nawab some newspapers and magazines.

Pataudi will be all right, Qureshi insisted. “Whatever medicines he wants, we are providing. The doctor will be coming soon and there is a government hospital here in case he requires a medical check-up. His counsel is visiting him.”

Asked about the other six accused, who are still eluding police, Qureshi said: “We are looking for them and are conducting raids. We are sure that we will be able to apprehend them soon.”

One of the accused is the Nawab’s neighbour in Delhi, Shashi Singh, the owner of the other firearm seized by police, a double-barrelled gun.

Qureshi added that though Pataudi and his friends have been charged with killing a black buck, they can also be tried for possessing the meat of an endangered animal. The punishment, like that of actually killing the animal, can be three to seven years in jail.

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