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$100,000 Reward for Indian Student

Guest The Pom Queen

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Guest The Pom Queen

A reward is being offered for the arrest of a man who fled to India after being charged over a fatal car accident in Melbourne.


Victoria Police is offering $100,000 for information leading to the arrest of Puneet Puneet, who had been committed to stand trial for culpable driving in 2008.


Police say this is the first time a reward has been offered in relation to a traffic matter in the state.


Dean Hofstee, 19, was killed on October 1, 2008 when he was struck by a car alleged to have been driven by Puneet.


Police say Mr Hofstee and friend Clancy Coker, then 20, both from Queensland, were visiting Melbourne when they were hit by Puneet's car while walking along City Road about 12.50am.


Mr Coker survived life-threatening injuries.


Puneet, a 19-year-old learner driver at the time, was charged with culpable driving and negligently causing serious injury.


Experts estimated his car was travelling 148km/h in a 60km/h zone at the time of the crash and he was later found to have a blood-alcohol reading of 0.165.


Puneet failed to appear at his County Court trial in August 2009 after being bailed and ordered to surrender his Indian passport.


Police determined he had fled Australia for India using the passport of another Indian student, who was later charged with perverting the course of justice.


Puneet's whereabouts are currently unknown but he is believed to still be hiding in India.


Assistant Commissioner Robert Hill said the reward is an important next step in being able to resolve the matter and provide justice for the victims.


"We believe that there are people both in Australia and India who can provide information in relation to Puneet's whereabouts," Mr Hill said in a statement.

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