The police are looking into a claim that Janhavi Gadkar, the 35-year-old advocate, who crashed her Audi into a taxi on the Eastern Freeway around 1am on Tuesday, may have visited a south Mumbai pub, after leaving from Hotel Marine Plaza. Two people were killed in the crash.
Gadkar, in her statement to the police, had said she went to Marine Plaza, where she had two whiskeys, and then sat at Marine Drive for a couple of hours, before heading home.
On Thursday, Gadkar’s blood report from the Kalina Forensic Laboratory revealed she had 200mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood, which is more than six times the permissible limit — 30mg in 100ml. “This will strengthen our case,” said a senior police officer.
S Nishandar, deputy commissioner of police, zone 6, said, “A media professional has told us that he spotted Janhavi at a pub later that night. We are investigating this claim.”
The claim directly contradicts Gadkar’s statement to the police, in which she said that after leaving Marine Plaza around 10pm, she stopped her car at Marine Drive and spent over two hours there, apparently in an effort to sober up, before resuming her journey.
The police are also examining CCTV footage from Marine Plaza for more clues. “She can be seen entering the hotel and exiting it. We have
very strong evidence in this case,” said Nishandar.
Cops have also retrieved videos shot by passers-by minutes after the accident. One of these videos, which HT has seen, shows the two damaged cars soon after the crash. Gadkar can be seen standing outside her car as a crowd gathers. It also shows Salim Sabuwala, 50, lying injured on the road. Sabuwala succumbed to his injuries at Sion hospital, while taxi driver Mohamed Sayyed died on the spot. “The videos also constitute strong evidence,” said Nishandar. “We have also recorded the statements of 10 people directly or indirectly associated with the case,” he added.
Meanwhile, Gadkar was taken to Sion hospital on Thursday for treatment on a dislocated arm, police said. She will be produced before a court on Friday.
The police said that Gadkar may also have been involved in an altercation with two guards at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) a few days ago, when her car grazed a two-wheeler. “It was a minor incident,” said Nishandar.
Police officials have also been trying to reconstruct Gadkar’s journey to find out how she could have ended up on the wrong side of the freeway. “There are four openings on P D’Mello Road and three openings on the freeway from which a person can get into the opposite lane. There are no CCTV cameras on the freeway but we are checking CCTV footage from P D’Mello Road,” said Nishandar.