Charges have been filed against a man for allowing his nine-year-old son to drive his Ferrari, with no one but the seven year old brother in the passenger seat, police in the southern Indian state of Kerala said Monday.
The police arrested Mohammed Nisham under India’s Juvenile Justice Act and Motor Vehicles Act. Nisham filmed the video of his son driving the F430 and uploaded it to YouTube two weeks ago, stating his son was a “pretty confident [and] careful driver, [he is] used to driving most of my cars...even my Lamborghini [and] Bentley coupe.”
The Times of India Monday reported Nisham was booked under Section 23 of the Juvenile Justice Act for “encouraging under-age driving” and for “allowing unlicensed child to drive the vehicle.”
The video has sparked outrage on social media forums.
“Just goes to show that being rich and being intelligent are mutually exclusive things,” commented Wilber Jenkins on YouTube.
“Handing over the car key...shows how stupid and immature the parents are. All kids in the world are capable of learning driving by the age of 10. No country in the world give licenses at that age. There is a reason for that,” added YouTube commenter, Shine Thankappan.
Dubai-based founder of the safety awareness campaign Buckle Up In The Back, Lesley Cully, said the parents showed negligence by allowing the joyride to take place and questioned whether they would be proud if the situation had resulted in an accident.
Despite criticism, the parents seem unabashed.
“It was his ninth birthday, and since he was insisting for months, we allowed him to drive the Ferrari,” the boy’s mother, Amal Nisham, told Indian television channel NDTV.
“I am proud of him. He’s been driving since he was five.”
The decision to allow a nine-year-old to take the wheel of a sports car has garnered some support.
“All those claiming irresponsibility are mere jealous narrow-minded idiots. Some kids are gifted with talent. It’s theparent’s responsibility to nurture it. All I could complain was that the kid was not wearing his seat belt. Otherwise big thumbs up,” stated Arun Seshan via YouTube.
Another user, “notforyoupal,” made a poignant point- “what? It's ok for a nine-year-old to work 16 hour days making rugs but they can’t drive a Ferrari?”
Inspector MV Verghese said the boy's father, who has a thriving tobacco and real estate business, owns a fleet of 18 cars worth an approximated $4 million.
Nisham has applied for bail and is expected to turn himself in at the police station close to his home near the port city of Kochi, Verghese said.