Pune: A sessions court held Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation driver Santosh Mane guilty on Wednesday for mowing down nine people and injuring 37 others in January 25 last year.
The judge will pronounce the sentence on the quantum of punishment on April 8. Rejecting the defence argument that the driver acted in a fit of insanity as he was mentally disturbed, additional sessions judge V K Shevale who pronounced his order in a jampacked court room observed that Mane had committed the crime in a conscious state of mind and he was fully aware of the consequences of his actions.
Mane was convicted under Sections 302, 307, 324, 427, 381 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for murder, attempt to murder, damage to public property and theft.
In a nightmarish incident that had shocked the city, Mane had hijacked a state transport bus from the Swargate depot on January 25 last year and driven on a stretch of 14 km on a busy road in the area, killing nine and injuring 37 during the peak hour heavy morning traffic.
The prosecution had filed a 270-page chargesheet against Mane and examined 39 witnesses to establish that the driver was "stable and conscious" and not "insane" at the time of the incident.
The defence had produced two witnesses, including a psychiatrist and a chemist from Solapur, his hometown, to show that he was mentally unstable.
A large number of relatives of those killed in the gruesome incident were present in the court room. Mane`s face remained devoid of any emotion when he was pronounced guilty.