A metropolitan magistrate court on Friday rejected the bail application moved by 35-year-old Mumbai advocate Janhavi Gadkar, who is accused of killing two persons and injuring four after crashing her car in a drunken state into a taxi on the eastern freeway on June 9.
"The application is rejected," magistrate Richa Khedekar said in her seven page order while extending Gadkar's judicial custody till July 10.
Gadkar's bail plea was rejected after the magistrate observed that "as per the say of the investigating officer and public prosecutor, the material witnesses in the case are colleagues of the accused, in these circumstances, the possibility of tampering the witnesses of prosecution by pressurizing the witnesses cannot be ruled out."
The magistrate also observed that Gadkar being an advocate and a lady were not sufficient grounds to release her on bail. "Though the accused is highly qualified person, she is an advocate and being a lady that cannot be proper and sufficient grounds for releasing the accused on bail when such serious offence punishable under section 304 (II) of IPC is registered against her," reads the order.
The defense had contended that the charge of culpable homicide not amount to murder section 304 (II) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and charge of mischief of causing damage cannot be applied to the case, and they are invoked mechanically to the case.
Amit Desai, senior advocate representing Gadkar, had contended that considering her previous background, the prosecution's claim that she will tamper with evidence or will go absconding does not hold ground. The defence further pointed out that after the accident Gadkar was allowed to go home and the police had called her the next day.
Desai further contended that the presence of accused is not required as police has already completed crucial part of investigation.
Meanwhile, public prosecutor, Prahlad Mahajan contended that the investigation is still in progress. "The vehicle is yet to be examined, and there is no guarantee that the accused will not abscond. Statements of the witnesses are yet to be recorded. Also, material witnesses are colleagues of the accused and possibility of pressurising them is very high," Mahajan said.
The magistrate, while rejecting her bail plea, observed that Hafeeza Sabuwala, who was injured in the accident and also one of complainant in the case, was still undergoing treatment. "It will not be proper…to release the accused on bail in the said offence which is exclusively triable by the sessions court. Therefore the application is liable to be rejected," observed the court.
Mahesh Sabnis, who is also representing Gadkar, said, "We will study the order to decide on the next course of action."
Gadkar can now apply for bail before a sessions court.
(With inputs from PTI)