Lawyer Janhavi Gadkar was released on bail Wednesday evening, two months after the car she was allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol rammed into a taxi on the Eastern Freeway killing two persons.
The city civil and sessions court observed that the prosecution’s objection to the bail plea was not “appealing” and that Gadkar, being a woman, had a special status at the bail plea stage of the case. The court also noted that the investigation in the case was almost over.
Gadkar’s family, including her mother, sister and estranged husband, along with her lawyer, waited outside the Byculla jail for over an hour Wednesday evening for her to emerge. At 6.48 pm, Gadkar stepped out covering her face with a scarf. Her left hand was covered in a cast. While no one approached her instantly, the sister walked towards her and hugged her after a while. The media was asked to stand approximately 50 metres away from where Gadkar was seen surrounded by her family.
As she walked with her mother and sister, her estranged husband and a police constable walked ahead to protect them. She was driven home in a gray Toyota Innova, which was allowed to enter the jail premises after a family friend sought permission from jail authorities. The jail premises witnessed a rise in the number of policemen in the last 30 minutes before Gadkar stepped out. Byculla jailor S A Indulkar said he had been given instructions to check for any trouble on Gadkar’s release.
S. Jayakumar, DCP (Zone III), however, said, “No special arrangements were made for the release of Janhavi Gadkar, though the Byculla police were on alert and asked to be on the lookout for any crowd management issues. The entry of private vehicles is at the discretion of the jailor.”
Meanwhile, the Mumbai Police is expected to file a chargesheet on the matter Thursday. Sangramsinh Nishandar, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone VI), confirmed that the RCF police station, which is investigating the case, would submit the chargesheet Thursday. The chargesheet will comprise Gadkar’s medical reports and the inspection reports from the Wadala Regional Transport Office of Gadkar’s Audi Q3 car.
According to a police officer, nearly 40 people have been listed as witnesses and at least 13 as key eyewitnesses. The statements of some of the witnesses, who the police have recorded, claim that the high-profile lawyer offered to pay cash and “settle” the matter minutes after the accident, the police said. The list of witnesses also include the chief financial officer (CFO) of Reliance Industries Limited Alok Agarwal and Gadkar’s colleague Rahul Datta, who was with her at Hotel Marine Plaza on June 9. Gadkar is employed as vice-president (legal) at Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL).
The chargesheet will also include the sequence of events on the night of the accident. According to the police, Gadkar left Hotel Marine Plaza after meeting Datta around 10 pm, and then spent around an hour walking on Marine Drive.
During this time, she spoke to Agarwal over the phone. She then drove to the Irish House pub at Kala Ghoda and met him.
Gadkar was accused of speeding in an inebriated state when her car hit the taxi, killing its driver and a passenger seated on the front seat.
In the chargesheet, the police will mention the route that she took before ramming her car into the taxi. The chargesheet will also include the Regional Transport Office’s report that said the condition of the vehicle was “mechanically fit at the time of the accident”, besides the other report that shows Gadkar’s blood alcohol content was 200 mg, nearly four times the permissible amount.