Indian-origin Singaporean jailed for 3 weeks, fined in drunk-driving case

Varatharaj was driving at about 2.30 am on September 22, 2019, when he saw a police roadblock ahead of him.

Singapore: A 45-year-old Indian-origin Singaporean was jailed for three weeks and fined SGD 6,800 for drunk driving and abandoning his car on the road, trying to avoid a police roadblock in 2019.

Manikam Varatharaj was convicted of one count each of ‘drunk driving’ and leaving his car in a position that inconvenienced other road users.

He was jailed for three weeks, fined SGD 6,800 and banned from driving for 42 months on Friday, Channel News Asia reported.

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Varatharaj was driving at about 2.30 am on September 22, 2019, when he saw a police roadblock ahead of him.

Wanting to avoid the roadblock as he had been drunk-driving, Varatharaj asked a security guard stationed at a nearby building to watch his vehicle as he abandoned it at the exit of the commercial building, fleeing on foot.

Noting that Varatharaj appeared “panicky” and reeked of alcohol and that the abandoned car obstructed the exit lane in a way that any vehicle leaving the building would have to manoeuvre around it, the guard informed an officer at the police roadblock about what had ensued.

Varatharaj was eventually nabbed by the police.

He admitted to drinking two cans of beer as he was on his way home when he saw the roadblock. Varatharaj told an officer that he abandoned his car to avoid detection as he did not want to get caught a second time for drink-driving.

Even though Varatharaj’s first drunk driving conviction was 19 years ago in 2004, he was also given composition fines for using a phone while driving in 2011, as well as for speeding in 2012, the prosecutor said.

At the trial, Varatharaj claimed he had not seen the police roadblock, and he stopped the car because his hands and legs were trembling.

He claimed he had brought two cans of beer in his pockets after abandoning his car and drank them at a coffee shop.

The prosecution sought four to six weeks in jail, a fine between SGD 8,000 and SGD 10,000 and a four-year driving ban.

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