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Nagpur-Mumbai Samruddhi expressway mishap: Police to identify victims using DNA comparison

Updated on: 02 July,2023 07:34 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Anurag Kamble |

Forensic team from Aurangabad collecting samples as bodies are charred beyond recognition

Nagpur-Mumbai Samruddhi expressway mishap: Police to identify victims using DNA comparison

CM Eknath Shinde arrives at the site on Saturday

With bodies of the Samruddhi Marg bus accident victims charred beyond recognition, the police will now have to rely on DNA sample comparison to establish the identities of the deceased. The Vidarbha express, a sleeper luxury private bus, left Nagpur at around 5 pm on Friday and met with an accident at 1.32 am on Saturday, when it collided with a pole and subsequently caught fire.

Rescue workers have 25 dead bodies from the wreckage and sent them to the district hospital in Buldhana. The authorities are still in the process of identifying the deceased, 14 of whom hailed from Wardha. Ramesh Kolape, Tehsildar from Wardha who is in Buldhana to coordinate with families of the deceased, said, “The bodies are completely charred, and we have still not been able to identify 
the deceased.”

A senior officer with the Buldhana police added, “Any family members who can identify their kin based on jewellery or other such signs can claim the bodies. For the rest, we will have to submit DNA samples for comparison,” said a senior officer with the Maharashtra Highway Police. A team from the Forensic Sciences Laboratory in Aurangabad is already on the scene to collect samples from the deceased and their families, said officials. 

Meanwhile, Superintendent of Police Sunil Kadasane, Buldhana said that eight of the passengers have survived the accident. “One of the injured is in a critical condition while others have sustained minor injuries. The driver and cleaner were among the first to leave the bus. Most of the passengers were asleep when the accident occurred,” said Kadasane. 

Meanwhile, the police’s probe indicates that the accident occurred as driver lost control over the bus dashed into the pole. As a result, the fuel tank burst and the friction caused by the collision set off sparks, which came into contact with spilled diesel and started the fire. It was initially suspected that the bus lost control due to a tyre burst, but an inspection by the Highway Police and the Regional Transport Office has confirmed that the tyres are intact, but the axel of the bus broke. 

“Our assessment has established that a tyre burst was not the reason behind the accident. The bus hit the pole, which was uprooted due to the impact, after which it went across the road and hit a concrete structure. Its overturning may have caused the friction that led to the sparks,” said Dr Ravinder Singal, Additional Director General, Highway Police.  

Reacting to a question about engineering defects in the highway, as is being alleged by some political parties, Singal said that the police have so far not found any fault with the road. The Buldhana Police have arrested the driver, identified as Danish Ismayil Sheikh and charged him under section section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) under the Indian Penal Code. 

Virendra Darna, the owner of the bus told mid-day, “The driver is the most experienced one we have. The bus is a new one and all its documents are in order. The fire may have spread due to the foam and the wood in the bus.” 

IPC Section slapped against the bus driver

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