Nashik top cop says bus meant for 30 people was carrying 55 passengers, and was going way too fast at the time of accident that claimed 12 lives
The charred bus on the Nashik-Aurangabad Highway on Saturday
The Nashik police late on Saturday night arrested the absconding driver of the trailer truck that collided with a luxury sleeper bus killing 12 and leaving 43 injured. The police have booked three people—truck driver Ramji, alias Lavkush Yadav, and the deceased bus driver Brahma Manwar for negligence, rash driving and overspeeding; and helper Deepak Shende. The bus overloaded at the time of the mishap, they said.
Nashik City Police Commissioner Jayant Naiknavare said they will form a team to investigate the matter. “The local DCP will assign officers from his zone to investigate the case. We will investigate the matter in depth. The condition of the bus, passing, fitness, etc. We have already recorded statements of all the survivors.”
A victim speaks to CM Eknath Shinde, on Saturday. Pic/PTI
The top cop said the bus wasn’t stationary at the time of the mishap on the Nashik-Aurangabad Highway. “The impact following the collision itself shows that both vehicles were being driven at high speed.
The bus, which was travelling to Mumbai from Pusad in Yavatmal district, was carrying far more passengers than it could accommodate. It had a capacity of 30 passengers, according to the initial passenger list, but 53 to 55 people were on board, as evidenced by the list of injured and dead,” he said.
The officer said the truck and bus drivers failed to negotiate an intersection and didn’t apply brakes. “As a result, the bus directly hit the truck’s fuel tank on the side, which caught fire immediately.” The police said a third vehicle was also involved in the accident. Before turning into a fiery ball, the bus hit a mini cargo van due to which the latter got overturned.
Eyewitnesses said that as soon as the bus caught fire, some passengers managed to escape from the windows while others were trapped and charred. The locals alerted the police and the fire department, who launched a rescue operation and doused the fire.
Ramji, alias Lavkush Yadav, the truck driver
API Shaikh of Adgaon police station where the case has been registered said, “We will be writing to the RTO about the passing of the bus, fitness, etc. Besides this, we have booked both the drivers Yadav and Manwar, who is dead, under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Motor Vehicles Act for Causing death by negligence, rash driving, driving dangerously and speeding.”
Shaikh said Yadav was arrested from Adgaon late on Saturday night. “As per his [Yadav’s] statement, the bus was speeding and he couldn’t control the vehicle and the bus hit the truck’s fuel tank. As soon as the bus caught fire, Yadav and helper Shende fled the scene. Yadav said he was very scared.” Guardian Minister of Nashik Dadasaheb Bhuse and senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal who visited the accident spot said the police must investigate if the bus was speeding as well.
Valuables help kin identify victims
The bodies of three Nashik bus mishap victims were burnt so badly that their families could not initially identify them, prompting authorities to explore DNA testing. The police then showed the belongings, including watches, purses and jewellery, of the victims which resulted in the identification of two bodies. Till Saturday, seven bodies were identified, and Sunday, four more bodies were identified. Dr Ashok Thorat, civil surgeon of the Nashik hospital said, “Due to severe burns, one body could not be identified by the relatives. The process is still on.