Mumbai, July 23 IANS | 3 months ago

The Bombay High Court Wednesday upheld the conviction of Santosh Mane, a state transport corporation driver who had mowed down nine pedestrians and injured 37 others in Pune in 2012.

A division bench comprising Justice V.M. Kanade and Justice P.D. Kode also rejected Mane's plea that he was 'insane' at the time of the incident.

The court fixed Aug 5 for awarding the quantum of sentence to Mane, who was convicted by a lower court in Pune last year.

Pune Sessions Court Additional Sessions Judge V.K. Shewale had April 8, 2013 pronounced the death sentence for Mane, terming it as "a rarest of rare" crimes.

Mane (36), was convicted under Indian Penal Code sections pertaining to murder, attempt to murder, theft and damage to public property.

However, when the sentence came up for confirmation by the Bombay High Court, Mane challenged the conviction and claimed he was of unsound mind at the time of the incident.

Both matters -- the confirmation of the death sentence and his challenge to the conviction -- were heard simultaneously by the court.

Rejecting his plea for psychiatric examination, the Bombay High Court in September 2013 had set aside the death sentence awarded to Mane on grounds that the lower court had not heard him on the point of the sentence.

It referred the matter back to the Pune Sessions Court, directing it to hear Mane again on the issue of the death sentence.

The Pune court heard him out, and again awarded the death penalty, which he challenged in the high court.

On Jan 25, 2012, Mane had hijacked a Satara-bound bus of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) from the Swargate depot and sped it through the crowded roads of Pune, catching morning peak hour commuters unawares.

In his wild 15-km ride, lasting 45 minutes, he knocked down scores of people and damaged more than two dozen public and private vehicles before he was nabbed.

(Posted on 23-07-2014)

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