Drunk-driving accident: Mumbai court rejects advocate Janhavi Gadkar's bail application

The Kurla magistrate court on Friday rejected the bail application moved by 35-year-old corporate lawyer Janhavi Gadkar who is accused of mowing down two persons here on June 10 under the influence of alcohol.

"The application is rejected," Magistrate Richa Khedkar said in her order while extending Gadkar's judicial custody till July 10.

Gadkar, through her lawyer Amit Desai had told the Kurla court that the investigation in the case is over and her custody is no longer required.

Amit Desai before starting his arguments said that, "Undoubtedly the matter is of serious nature and even Gadkar sitting back in jail must be thinking if she could turn back the clock but what has happened has happened."

Desai had also argued that if Gadkar is kept in jail it would be pre-trial punishment. The senior lawyer had contended that charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder is not attracted in the case but police should have imposed section 185 of Motor Vehicle Act that deals with drunken driving.

Janhvi GadkarJanhvi Gadkar

He had also argued that the magistrate is not barred from hearing the bail plea when the accused is a woman and the offence does not attract life sentence or capital punishment. Desai also had told the court that the prosecution's claim that she will tamper with evidence or will go absconding does not hold ground as after the accident she was allowed to go back home and the police had called her the next day.

However public prosecutor had opposed the bail, saying that the offence was serious and the magistrate can't grant her bail. Prosecutor Pralahad Mahajan had opposed the bail saying that some of the witnesses are friends of the accused and live in the same vicinity and hence she will tamper with evidence if released on bail.

In the early hours of June 10, an Audi driven by Gadkar rammed a taxi, resulting in the death of two persons including the taxi driver on the Eastern Freeway here. The deceased were identified as Mohammed Abdul Sayyad (55) and Mohammed Salim Sabuwala (50).

-With inputs from Sailee Dhayalkar

Here is what Janhavi Gadkar told the police in her statement:

>> I, Janhavi Ajit Gadkar (35), am a resident of Chembur.

>> In 2002, I completed LLB from the Government Law College in Churchgate. I left for England in 2004 and completed my LLM.

>> I worked with Talwar Thakur Associates as a lawyer for seven years. Thereafter, I joined Reliance Region Chamber as Vice-President Legal in 2013. Soon after joining Reliance, I bought an Audi Q3 and have been commuting from my house in Chembur to the office in Nariman Point in my car.

>> On June 8, I attended my office and my colleagues, Rahul Dutt and Shailendra Rane, and I went to celebrate in the evening as we had bagged a new project. At 7 pm we went to Marine Plaza. Instead of beer, for fun, I decided to have whisky that day. I had two pegs of Ballantine's Whisky and had dinner after that. Our total bill was around Rs 2,000. I paid the bill.

>> Around 10 pm, we left the hotel. Then, I was in my car, alone, at Marine Drive for two hours. At midnight, I left my friends and drove away in my car. I took a U-turn from Marine Drive towards Churchgate station and then went to P D'Mello Road to take the Eastern Freeway.

>> Since I was under the influence of whisky, I drove on the wrong side and also drove rashly. Around 1 am, when I reached close to the Shivaji Nagar mosque on the Freeway, I rammed my Audi into a taxi coming from the opposite direction.

>> I got saved because of the air bags, but fell unconscious. When I gained consciousness and some of the bystanders pulled me out of the car,

>> I saw that the taxi into which I had rammed my vehicle was parked in the middle of the road and had suffered severe damage. After that, the police made me sit in one of their vehicles and took me to the hospital for a medical test.

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