A magistrate’s court in Kurla on Friday remanded 35-year-old high court advocate Janhavi Gadkar, arrested in Tuesday’s drink driving accident on the Eastern Freeway, in judicial custody until June 26. Gadkar was arrested after she crashed her Audi Q3 into an oncoming taxi while driving down the wrong side of the freeway around 1 am on Tuesday, killing two people and injuring four others.
Meanwhile, the police on Friday confirmed that Gadkar did go to a pub after dining at Marine Plaza that night. Gadkar had claimed that after she left Marine Plaza, she parked her car at Marine Drive and spent about two hours there before resuming her journey home. But the police said that CCTV footage from a pub at Kala Ghoda shows that Gadkar went there after dinner and met a top Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) official.
Soon after she was sent to judicial custody, Gadkar’s lawyers moved her bail application; the hearing has been scheduled for Monday. Her lawyers are seeking bail on the grounds that the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder (Section 304 Part II of the Indian Penal Code) does not apply, as it was an accident.
Seeking an extension of Gadkar’s police custody, public prosecutor Prahlad Mahajan said the police had made substantial progress in their investigation. “We have gathered substantial evidence against her and recorded the statements of several witnesses. However, the statements of some witnesses are yet to be recorded,” Mahajan said.
Objecting to this, Mahesh Sabnis, Gadkar’s lawyer, said that as her statement had already been recorded, police custody was no longer required. “She herself is a victim of the accident and has sustained serious injuries. She needs immediate medical attention,” Sabnis argued.
The court finally decided to send Gadkar to judicial custody and criticised the RCF police for not presenting the progress of their investigation in writing when seeking police custody. The court said the investigation report – a confidential document – failed to reflect the progress of the probe and asked the police for additional documents. “The diary doesn’t show any progress. It does not even mention details of the investigation carried out at the pub. It does not mention if she was interrogated in the past two days. If you have conducted investigation, should you not mention this in the diary? Why is it not recorded?” magistrate Richa Khedkar asked.
To this, a police official replied, “Our investigation is still in progress. We have to interrogate her on several aspects, such as who was with her and where she went after dining at the hotel (Marine Plaza). We also want to know if there was anyone else in her car when she rammed into the taxi.”