Standing in a pool of blood, near seven freshly dead bodies, they threatened the survivors. Three of them tried to wrench off the number plate of the car before giving up and scooting from the scene of the accident.
21 year old Alister Pereira's drunken driving disaster has shocked and ughed Mumbai. Accidents happen, we all know. But this? 'Another case of spoilt young brats bereft of values'.
"We didn't mean to do it, but hey..." They were just a bunch of labourers, y'know. How hard will it be to buy our way out of it?
You feel disgusted when you read those words, but it's the plain and ugly truth. In 1999, 21 year old Sanjeev Nanda ran over and killed 6 people. Including 3 policemen! He was drunk and at the wheel of an unregistered BMW.
Witnesses and families of the dead were paid off. The wheels of justice decided to halt and let Sanjeev and his friends alight. Unscathed.
And, four years after Salman Khan's famous 'hit and run' accident, he is none the worse for the wear. His rash driving, possibly under the influence of alcohol, killed one person and injured four.
A trial began. It drags on. A key witness has turned hostile. Some have 'disappeared'. For all practical purposes, Salman is a free man. As Alister can soon hope to be. Remorse, or no remorse, money and influence will bail him out.
And there will be more Sanjeevs and Salmans and Alisters. Unless justice is delivered without regard to who you are and how fat your wallet is.
The conviction of Priyadarshini Mattoo's killer is one such landmark case. But can the media and the family pursue justice so doggedly every time?
They were just labourers, after all...