Santosh Maruti Mane (41), rogue Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation ddriver who mowed down nine people while injuring 30, was awarded death sentence by local court in Pune on Monday.
Mane was convicted by the court on Wednesday on several counts including murder and attempt to murder for going berserk on the streets of Pune on January 25, 2012, knocking down pedestrians and smashing all vehicles coming in his way, leaving nine persons dead and 30 injured.
Additional sessions judge VK Shewale, who awarded Mane capital punishment observed that this case came under rarest of the rare category.
“Considering the intensity of the act committed by Mane, he deserves capital punishment,” said Shewale while pronouncing the quantum of sentence.
A visibly calm Mane did not react in any way when the court pronounced the punishment.
“As per the procedure, we will challenge the sentence in high court,” said Dhananjay Mane, defence lawyer.
Earlier while convicting Mane, the court turned down defence plea that Mane was suffering with the attack of insanity.
“There is no such evidence that accused was suffering with the attack of insanity,” judge observed. Mane’s lawyer had argued that Mane was victim of mental disorder when he mowed down several persons under the bus he was driving.
At around 8 am when the incident took place, Mane hijacked the bus from Swargate bus depot using a master key. As soon as he drove out of the depot, he swiftly swerved to the wrong side on Shankarseth road and drove straight into oncoming traffic.
Witnesses recalled that Mane spared no one and nothing as he drove through Golibar Maidan, near the military cantonment, East Street, Solapur Bazar, back to Golibar Maidan, Swargate and Sarasbaug.
The hour-long rampage came to an end after a third year BCS student of Poona College, Sharif Kutti, managed to climb on to the bus near Sarasbaug, entered the driver’s cabin, and caught hold of Mane.
In his statement to the police after the arrest, Mane had said, “I don’t remember anything. I do not know when I actually picked up the (bus) key and stepped out of the office.”
The court said Mane had been found guilty and penalized on two earlier occasions for rash and negligent driving.