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

Updated: Aug 05, 2018, 12:44 IST | Chaitraly Deshmukh

Youth from Dapoli asks CM for probe into Poladpur-Mahabaleshwar accident, saying evidence doesn't match up

Maharsahtra road accident: Was survivor driving the ill-fated bus?
30 died after their bus fell into the valley at Poladpur on June 28. File pic

A week after 30 passengers lost their lives in the July 28 Poladpur-Mahabaleshwar accident, a youth from their village has demanded an investigation. He has moved an application to the police, the chief minister's office and the university that the 30 passengers were employed with, demanding a thorough investigation.

The horrifying accident took place near the Ambenali-Poladpur ghat where the private bus carrying employees of Dr Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth plunged 800 feet into the ghats, killing all but one passenger —Prakash Sawant Desai. However, Sanjay Gurav, a resident of Gimhavane village in Dapoli taluka, suspects that this was no accident.

Prakash Sawant Desai
Prakash Sawant Desai

He has said that he suspects Desai's involvement in it, although nothing has been proved till now. His 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 that the spot where the accident took place is the safest along the entire route. So, the chances of an accident here are remote.

Gurav also said that Desai not sustaining any injuries was suspicious. "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. Also, why would an experienced driver take the outer edge of the road?" he said.

Gurav's application states that usually, during an accident, the driver is the first one to be alerted and tries to stop it. So it is shocking that the even the driver lost his life.

Desai, an assistant superintendent at the vidyapeeth, had told the police that the driver had turned to look at them when the bus fell into the gorge. "Someone cracked a joke. One moment we were laughing, and the next, we had plunged into the gorge," Desai had said. Superintendent Anil Paraskar said, "We are probing the case and cannot reveal the status of the investigation. We are not aware about any petition moved." mid-day was unable to confirm receipt of the petition by the CM's office or the vidyapeeth.

Gurav points out
* As Desai is not injured, it is possible that he was driving the bus, but suddenly lost control of it and it fell into the valley. Because he was the driver, he was able to save his life
* Going by pictures taken and shared on social media by the passengers, Desai was sitting next to the driver. He may have exchanged places at some point.

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