Lawyer Rushikesh Ganu, representing Abhyankar, confirmed the court’s ruling and told TOI, “We moved a plea soon after the court read out the operative part of its sentence, seeking suspension of the same. The court allowed our plea by granting bail to our client on furnishing personal bond and surety of Rs15,000 to enable him move an appeal in a higher court.”
On July 17, 2016, Abhyankar’s car had hit a scooter, resulting in the death of its rider Arundhati Hasabnis (28), an employee of a public-sector bank. Her relative, Vikram Dhoot, had lodged a complaint in this connection and the police had then arrested Abhyankar. He was later granted bail by a local court.
On Monday, judicial magistrate first class S K Dugaonkar read out the operative part of her judgment holding Abhyankar guilty of the offences punishable under sections 279 (rash driving) and 304-A (causing death due to negligence) of the Indian Penal Code, read with sections 132 (1) and 134 (A) (B), both referring to the duty of a driver to stop in certain cases and in case of accident and injury to a person, of the Motor Vehicles (MV) Act.
The magistrate sentenced Abhyankar to six months of simple imprisonment for the offence of causing death by negligence and two months of simple imprisonment for rash driving and fined him Rs1,200. Both the sentences would run concurrently, the court said. A full text of the court’s judgment is expected to be released in due course of time. Girish Hasabnis, the victim’s husband, told TOI, “My faith in the police and the judicial system stands reaffirmed. The police have done a good investigation. We followed the case with the judiciary and finally the verdict was delivered.”
Lawyers Suryakumar Nirgudkar and Rugved Nirgudkar, who represented complainant Dhoot and assisted the prosecution in the case, said, “Our aim was to see that proper evidence was collected and chargesheet was filed before the court to show that the victim died due to rash and negligent driving.”
Assistant public prosecutor Girish Bargaje, who examined 17 witnesses in support of the prosecution’s case, had sought maximum punishment on the grounds that the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt. Defence lawyer Ganu had submitted that the court ought to show leniency to his client by imposing minimum punishment, considering his age and health condition.
Three eyewitnesses, two relatives of the victim, a chemical analyser and two regional transport office representatives were among the 17 witnesses examined by the prosecution in the case. Bargaje had submitted that there was direct evidence and independent witnesses and there was no reason to disbelieve their evidence in the hit-and-run case.