A 45-year-old state transport (ST) bus driver has been arrested by the Kasarvadavali police for driving under the influence of alcohol. A 32-year-old traffic police constable based with the Thane Traffic department was alerted by the motorists about the same. He then followed the ST bus for more than two kilometres and caught hold of the driver, who was booked for rash driving and driving under the influence of alcohol.
This is the second instance in the last 10 days when a driver plying an ST bus has been caught for driving under the influence of alcohol.
Nilesh Garje 32, a police constable based with Kasarvadavali traffic unit of Thane traffic department was stationed on duty near Gaikmukh Jakat Naka to release the traffic. “On Monday, at 5:30 am, we were asked to reach Gaikmukh Jakat Naka to release the traffic jam. Till 8:30 am, we almost cleared the traffic. I was standing at the junction, when a Thane Municipal Transport (TMT) bus driver and three other motorists approached me saying that a ST bus driver is driving rashly on road, violating the traffic norms. Within two minutes, the bus arrived in full speed. Noticing this, I tried to stop him. But, he sped up and left towards Thane,” said Garje, who then started his motorcycle and followed the bus for more than two kilometers.
The ST bus driver Prashant Gedam (45), was plying the vehicle from Bhayandar to Thane, and was caught at around 8:35 am near Shankar Mandir on Reti Bunder. “I was scared at first as he was driving very rashly. I also remembered about the police constable who was rammed by another ST bus at the same junction 10 days ago. I followed him and started whistling to alert the driver. But, he was not responding. I then started alerting the passengers and requested them to ask the driver to stop the vehicle,” added Garje
Garje then went inside the bus (MH 20 BL 1465), and the first question he asked the passengers was whether they are aware about the driver being drunk. The passengers stated that they doubted the same, but couldn’t check. “There were more than 40 passengers in the bus traveling to Thane. I also asked the conductor, who also said that he was not aware about the same. We caught hold of the accused driver and took him to Kasarvadavali police station. We checked his alcohol status in the breath analyzer and found 250 mg of alcohol,” informed Garje, adding the driver was so drunk that he was not able to stand properly for the breath analyzer test
A case has been registered against Gedam at the Kasarvadavali police station under Section 184 (Driving dangerously) and 185 (driving by a drunken person or by a person under the influence of drugs) of the Motor Vehicle Act.
Speaking to mid-day, Rashmi Karandikar, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Thane Traffic department said, “This is the second incident in recent times when a state transport bus driver was caught driving under the influence of alcohol. Ten days ago, we lost our man on the field. We have started a drive against such motorists. We have also sent a letter to the state transport department to check the status of drivers before handing over the bus, as he is responsible for more than 50 to 100 passengers traveling in the bus during the time,” added Karandikar.
On March 12, a police constable Chandrakant Salunkhe (44), also based with Kasarvadavali traffic unit succumbed to his injuries after he was rammed by a Thane Municipal Transport bus at Gaikmukh Naka. The driver Gajanan Baburao Shejul 56, was arrested. The deceased constable’s wife donated his eyes after his death.