A man was arrested in the Indian capital New Delhi for allegedly hitting two bikers with his car for objecting to his smoking in public. One of the bikers succumbed to his injuries and died in a hospital on Friday (22 September).

The incident took place on 16 September in south Delhi area when the two bikers, identified as Gurpreet and Maninder Singh, aged 21 and 22 respectively, were having dinner after filming a documentary.

Witnesses told police that the accused, identified as Rohit Krishna Mahanta, came near the two men and began smoking in front of them. When they objected to his smoking in public and onto their faces, Mahanta threatened them with dire consequences, police said. Smoking in public is legally banned in India.

In order to avoid an escalation of the argument, the two men left the place on their bike, but Mahanta followed them in his car and rammed their bike. The injured were rushed to the hospital where Gurpreet died of the injuries a day later. The other man is reportedly still in the hospital undergoing treatment.

Mahanta, a practicising lawyer in a north-eastern state in India, was arrested on Thursday evening. Earlier that day, he was arrested for rash driving, but was granted bail, police told the Press Trust of India.

Initially, police had charged Mahanta under section 304 of Indian Penal Code for culpable homicide not amounting to murder with a maximum term of life imprisonment. However, following the death of one of the victims, the charge was changed to murder.

"Maninder was unconscious after the incident. After he regained consciousness and narrated the sequence of events, it was thought that sections 302 and 30 could both be applied," a police officer said, referring to the charges of attempt to murder.

"However, we decided to include stricter charges of murder in the case," the officer added.