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Bombay High Court upholds conviction of bus driver who mowed down 9 persons in Pune

Wednesday, 23 July 2014 - 6:11pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: PTI

Rejecting the plea of insanity, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday upheld the conviction of a State Transport bus driver who had mowed down nine persons and injured 35 others in Pune in January 2012.

A bench of Justices VM Kanade and PD Kode upheld the conviction of Santosh Mane saying they were rejecting his plea that he was insane at the time of the incident. The judges further said that they would decide on the sentence to be awarded to the convict on August 5. Mane was convicted by a Pune court in December 2013.

Being aggrieved, he filed an appeal before the high court. The death penalty awarded to him also came up for confirmation before the high court. Both the matters were heard simultaneously. The proceedings were conducted on a day-to-day basis in the court where the driver has pleaded that he was of "unsound mind" at the relevant time.

Defence lawyer Jagdish Mane argued that police had allegedly suppressed the fact that Mane was undergoing treatment of mental illness.

Public prosecutor Sandeep Shinde told the court that police had informed the magistrate at the time of remand that a doctor's report stated that Mane needs to be referred to a psychiatrist. Opposing his death sentence, Mane pleaded insanity and sought to be re-examined by a psychiatrist or any doctor from outside Pune to prove that he is of unsound mind.

However, the high court turned down his plea. In September, 2013, the high court had set aside the death penalty awarded to Mane, noting that the trial court had not heard him on the point of sentence. The court referred the matter back to the trial court, asking it to hear Mane again.

Accordingly, the trial court heard Mane and awarded him death penalty again, after which he moved the high court. In a freak incident on January 25, 2012, Mane drove a Satara-bound bus from Swargate depot and ran over pedestrians killing nine of them and injuring many others before he was overpowered and arrested.

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