Indian in hit-and-run takes HK trip

Rudy Santos and Mike Frialde - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - An Indian businessman who reportedly figured in a hit-and-run that killed a motorcycle driver in Makati City went on a three-day trip to Hong Kong but has yet to fulfill his promise to surrender to the police.

Rajiv Dargani, president of Sunglass Hut Philippines, left for Hong Kong on April 26 and returned on Sunday, according to sources at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

The sources said Dargani was able to leave because his name is not on the Bureau of Immigration’s list of persons to prevent from leaving the country. Only a judge can request the Department of Justice, which controls the BI, to issue a hold departure order, they said.

Makati police chief Senior Superintendent Manuel Lukban said BI agents told him about Dargani’s presence at NAIA.

Lukban said Dargani was stopped at the airport on Sunday as the BI had placed him under their watchlist following the hit and run incident.

“I was told that he (Dargani) was held by (BI) agents at the airport after seeing that his name was on the watchlist. They called me and asked for a verification. I told them that we cannot prevent him from leaving as no arrest warrant has been issued against him even though he has already been inquested,” he said.

Lukban said it would be to Dargani’s disadvantage to flee the country as the court would find justification to issue an arrest warrant against him.

“He would be arrested once he stepped back into the country. He has promised to surrender and we are still waiting for him to do so,” he said.

According to Lukban, although Dargani was raised in the Philippines, he still lists his nationality as Indian.

On Saturday, Dargani again sent word through an emissary that he would surface soon. “According to the emissary, Dargani is just resting and is in hiding after he was allegedly traumatized by the incident,” said Lukban.

After Dargani failed to fulfill his first promise to surrender on April 24, the city police charged him with reckless imprudence resulting in homicide, physical injuries and abandonment of one’s victim with the city prosecutor’s office.

Witnesses identified Dargani as the man who allegedly drove an Audi R8 (JVV-88) that hit a motorcycle along McKinley Road at past 3 a.m. on April 20, killing driver Henrix Bernardo and injuring Glenn Nacion Jr., Lukban said.

Dargani fled and has yet to surrender to police, but his emissary has taken care of Bernardo’s burial and Nacion’s hospital expenses, he added.

Land Transportation Office (LTO) records show that the license plates attached to the R8 Audi driven by Dargani belongs to a black two-door Porsche Carrera registered to Joey Valencia. Its last registration was April 12 this year.

 â€œIt could be that Dargani did not want any inconvenience with driving a car without license plates. That could be the reason why the car has license plates that belonged to another vehicle. He could have just faced a light offense for driving a car with license plates issued to another car, unfortunately, he figured in an accident that made it a bit complicated,” Lukban said.

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