HC confirms death for rogue Pune bus driver

Mane's reckless action claimed nine lives on the streets of Pune

HC confirms death for rogue Pune bus driver

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday confirmed the death sentence of a rogue bus driver who went berserk and crushed nine people to death on the streets of Pune in 2012.

 The court termed the crime  “cruel, diabolical and revolting” that would “shock the conscience of society”.

Holding that the offence fell in the rarest of the rare category, the court rejected Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation driver Santosh Mane’s plea of being insane at the time of the incident.

“This is an exceptional and rarest of the rare cases where the crime is so cruel, diabolical and revolting so as to shock the collective conscience of society,” a division bench comprising justices V M Kanade and P D Kode said.

“His plea that he was of unsound mind at the relevant time is false and death penalty is justified in this case,” the court said. “We, therefore, confirm the death sentence and direct that the accused be hanged by neck till he is pronounced dead. Criminal appeal (filed by accused Mane) is hereby dismissed.”

A nightmare had unfolded on the streets of Pune on January 25, 2012, when Mane hijacked a state transport bus from the Swargate depot, drove it on the wrong side, ramming vehicles and crushing pedestrians.

 Before the police could overpower him after an hour-long chase, Mane’s maniacal drive had left nine dead and 27 injured.

“It cannot be accepted that an insane act cannot be committed by a sane mind. It cannot be condoned in the fond hope that such a person may, in the distant future, be reformed and claim right to live in a civilised society,” the judges observed.

The court said it was not a case of the driver of a public vehicle committing a road accident while driving but one in which a bus was hijacked and the offender had killed innocent people and damaged public property “undaunted by all attempts made to dissuade him from his killing spree”.

“This is also not a case where due to mechanical fault, he was unable to stop the vehicle.

 The magnitude of his crime cannot be brushed aside on the ground of his false plea of insanity which he raised after the gruesome and gory incident was over,” said the bench. 

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