The taxi lawyer Janhavi Gadkar rammed her car into, killing its driver Syed Hussain and a passenger on Eastern Freeway in June last year, has been sold by Hussain’s family for Rs 60,000.
The taxi had been purchased in September 2014, and Hussain had spent Rs 5 lakh in buying and refurbishing it. The badly damaged vehicle was sold last week, a month after the Bombay City Civil and Sessions Court gave permission to the family to dispose of it as scrap.
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“Apart from a door at the back seat, the car was completely destroyed and only had scrap value left. A week ago, we managed to find a scrap dealer who quoted a decent enough price. He also promised that that if he makes a profit by reselling it, he would give us half of it,” said Mohammad Hussain, a cousin of Syed Hussain.
Hussain had been ferrying his last passengers of the day when Gadkar, driving under the influence of alcohol, crashed into it. Apart from Hussain, Bhendi Bazaar resident Salim Sabuwala was also killed. Sabuwala and his family were going to Bhiwandi to celebrate his son’s Class 10 result.
Sessions Judge R G Wankhade had allowed the Hussain family to take possession of the car from the police in December last year, before the family moved court for its sale.
The police had objected to the sale, arguing that it was required to be identified during the trial. Hussain’s widow, Zaibunissa Hussain, had pleaded that the car could not be repaired and that it was in very bad shape. “The car is an important part of evidence in the case. We had told the court that it should not be sold,” said Dilip Raut, senior inspector, RCF police station, which investigated the case.
Paving the way for the sale, the judge had directed the police to conduct a detailed panchanama and take pictures of it. “We had no choice but to sell it. Bhendi Bazaar is so congested that there isn’t enough space to park two-wheelers. If the case goes on for 10 to 15 years, where would we have parked a damaged car?” Mohammad Hussain said.
With the only breadwinner in the family dead, and daughter Nilofer Hussain living and working in the UK, Zaibunissa received Rs 5 lakh from insurance for the death, the vehicle and damage to the gas-fed engine.