Nita Ambani's driver in custody over Matheran trip

The driver was arrested on Saturday, when he was ferrying Mukesh Ambani's wife to Matheran, an eco-sensitive zone where vehicles are prohibited, in a Honda CR-V

After Nita Ambani's driver was arrested on Saturday for violating environmental norms, he has now been remanded in police custody for two days.

Arrested: A police officer takes the accused driver, Sudhir Shinde, to
the police station. (Below) Nita Ambani. Pic/Navneet Barhate

Sudhir Narayan Shinde was driving Nita, wife of billionaire Mukesh Ambani and chairperson of Reliance Foundation, in a Honda CR-V on Saturday when the alleged incident occurred. The Matheran police arrested Shinde under Section 15 of the Environment Protection Act and seized the car, which is registered in the name of the Reliance Company.

On Monday, Shinde was produced in the Karjat metropolitan court where the magistrate sent him to police custody for two days.

According to a central law, cars are not allowed in the hill city around 100 km from Mumbai. The Ministry of Environment and Forests declared the hill station an eco-sensitive zone in 2003 to protect its biodiversity.

A traffic constable posted at the gate tried to stop the vehicle, but Shinde continued to drive towards Rugby hotel, which is situated around 2.5 km further in the restricted area, sources said. The constable informed the Matheran police, which then sent a team. They found the car parked outside a hotel.

In his statement, Shinde has stated that Ambani was in the car when he entered the restricted zone.
"We have arrested Nita Ambani's driver. The matter is under investigation," said Param Bir Singh, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Konkan Range.

Section 15, EPA
If the offence is proved and the suspect is found guilty, then it is likely to attract a punishment of a maximum of five years imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5 lakh.

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