Maharashtra Bus accident: Amidst allegations, sole survivor wishes he was dead

Updated: Aug 06, 2018, 07:47 IST | Chaitraly Deshmukh

Sole survivor of accident that killed 30 people slams insinuations casting aspersions on his role in the mishap, while the police promise a thorough probe

Maharashtra Bus accident: Amidst allegations, sole survivor wishes he was dead
Rescue officials at the site where the bus plunged. File pics

"I alone know what I have gone through. I don't know what the intentions are of those pointing fingers at me for the horrific tragedy, but I want to tell them that such allegations hurt not just me but also the deceased's family members," said Prakash Sawant Desai, the only one to survive the Poladpur-Mahabaleshwar road accident, in which 30 staffers of Dr Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth died on July 28.

Desai, assistant superintendent at the Vidyapeeth, has come under scanner after a youth from the village of the deceased raised suspicion over him surviving the accident unscathed. Sunday mid-day reported yesterday that Sanjay Gurav, a resident of Gimhavane village in Dapoli taluka, who suspects Desai's involvement in the tragedy, has written to the Chief Minister and sought an in-depth investigation into the incident.

Mangled remains of the bus that fell into the gorge
Mangled remains of the bus that fell into the gorge

On July 30, mid-day had reported about the accident and highlighted the fact that the group was en route for research to a college in Rahuri and was not supposed to be on the road, near the Ambenali-Poladpur ghat, where the mishap occurred.

Desai defends
"I am mentally disturbed and haven't slept properly since the incident... I keep thinking if only my friends, too, had shown presence of mind and jumped, like I did. But maybe, it would have been better if I had died; at least wouldn't need to face such allegations then. I did everything I could to raise an alarm and call for help..." said Desai. During initial questioning, he had told the police that the driver had turned to look at the passengers when the bus fell into the gorge. "Someone cracked a joke. One moment we were laughing, and the next, we had plunged..." Desai had said.

Superintendent Anil Paraskar said, "We have procured CCTV footage and recovered several photos posted on social media by the group. We will carry out an in-depth investigation by speaking to RTO experts, gathering forensic medical evidence and inspecting the vehicle among other things. "Why the route was changed when the destination was Rahuri is a crucial part of our probe. We are also looking into the planning of the trip and the itinerary."

Depth the bus plunged to

Doubter's contentions
> Gurav application lists the geographical characteristics of the accident spot and how they affect the mishap. The road that winds through Ambenali ghat has hills on one side and a steep valley on the other. Some areas of the ghat are prone to landslides. Authorities, police officers and eyewitnesses have, however, said the spot where the accident took place is the safest along the entire route.

> Gurav said Desai not sustaining any injuries was suspicious, adding that it is possible he was driving the bus but lost control of it, and being the driver, was able to save himself. Going by the pictures shared on social media by the passengers, Desai was sitting next to the driver. He may have exchanged places at some point.

> The fact that the driver, too, lost his life is another point Gurav has highlighted.

> "Even seasoned trekkers need the support of a rope to climb the steep path, yet Desai magically climbed up by grabbing bushes and shoving his fingers into the slippery soil," Gurav has said in his application.

Also read: Maharsahtra road accident: Was survivor driving the ill-fated bus?

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