Pune mayhem: Driver sent to police custody

Pune mayhem: Driver sent to police custody

A court here Thursday sent to police custody the mentally disturbed state transport bus driver who sped through busy streets here a day earlier, killing eight people and injuring 29, police said.

"Santosh Mane has been remanded in police custody till Feb 3 by a court here," a police officer said.

Mane, a Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) driver, was arrested from near the Nilayam Talkies, where the bus was finally stopped after Mane hijacked it from the Swargate ST Depot, about 25 km away.

Mane, who is facing murder and attempt to murder charges, failed to find any legal representation. He was asked by the court if he wanted to say something in his defence, but he kept looking down and only answered with a "no".

Pune lawyers unanimously decided not to represent Mane on moral grounds.
"Mane has the right to find a defence lawyer during his trial. But we decided that we will not represent him before that," Milind Pawar, member of privilege committee of the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa, told IANS.

"What he did cannot be justified, whether or not he was in a sane state of mind. We have all decided we will not represent him on moral grounds," he added.

The incident happened at 8.15 a.m. when Mane climbed into an empty Pune-Satara-Pune bus at the Swargate ST Depot and zoomed off, driving at a breakneck speed on the wrong side of the road, taking the oncoming vehicles and people unawares.

According to police, Mane's high-speed drive lasted nearly 25 km during which he rammed stationary and moving vehicles en route and ran over pedestrians before being nabbed at the Dandekar Flyover near the Nilayam Talkies.

Mane had hit an electric pole first and then a divider which stalled the bus and facilitated the police in getting hold of him, said an official.