Arguing a bail plea filed by Janhavi Gadkar, the driver of the Audi Q3 that rammed into a taxi killing two people and injuring several others on the Eastern Expressway on June 9, her lawyer Advocate Amit Desai on Tuesday argued at Sessions Court that her capabilities are no reason to not grant her bail.
This was after the prosecution opposed her plea by saying that said that she should not be granted bail as that would give her the leeway to tamper with evidence.
The 35-year-old woman, a lawyer by profession, had allegedly, “owing to her capabilities, settled matters” with victims in similar cases previously leading to them not filing any report against her.
Desai, on the other hand, argued that statements of the witnesses have already been recorded and that there is no evidence to suggest that she has attempted to tamper with any evidence in the previous cases. “She is an educated Bombay girl, who comes from a humble family, and her capabilities and competence cannot be used against her,” he argued.
Meanwhile, citing examples of a previous case, prosecutor Iqbal Solkar argued,
“Why do you think this incident has not been reported? She has settled the matter with the victim by offering money.” The police also contended that Gadkar is likely to tamper with evidence, if she’s released on bail while investigation is on.
The prosecution cited a police report which claimed that Gadkar had caused two accidents earlier, one with a person on a motorcycle and one with a pedestrian. Both the cases were not reported.
“When the police took Gadkar for a medical examination in the present case, the doctors had recognised her. Soon, the police found out about the previous cases. The police have recorded the statement of the biker who she had rammed into earlier,” Solkar said.
The prosecution further submitted that releasing Gadkar on bail would send a “wrong signal” to society.
The prosecution also contended that Gadkar was a lawyer and had complete knowledge about the consequences of drinking and driving.
The defence, however, opposed the prosecution claiming that her qualification could not be used against her as grounds to keep her in custody. “Is being an advocate a ground for refusing bail? Many qualified people land in untoward situations. All that they keep saying that she is an advocate. She is a Bombay girl who comes from a humble family. Because of her capabilities and competence she has achieved heights in the legal fraternity. This cannot be used against her,” Desai argued.
Desai also submitted that there is no scope for Gadkar to abscond as she has been brought up in the city.
The investigators, however, told the court that Gadkar lived alone in the city and her estranged husband resided in Hyderabad, to support their allegations that she may abscond.
Desai also expressed displeasure regarding a poster put up by the traffic authorities that show two cars colliding
and depict a lawyer’s white collar with a caption “No one is above the law, not even the law”. Showing an image of the poster, the lawyer argued that the authorities have castigated the entire legal fraternity and that the argument is unjustified.
The lawyer also took offence to the prosecution’s argument that Gadkar lived alone in the city.
“Weare not denying that the victim’s family has suffered and she will face the consequences. But the fact that she stays on her own as a reason to not grant her bail holds no ground. The prosecution should be responsible while arguing. What next? There will be hoardings that women should not live alone?” Desai argued.
Citing a previous case in which an accused was granted bail, Desai referred to a judgement by a higher court which suggested that the accused should at most be refrained from driving for a period of time.
The court would pronounce its order on the bail plea on August 5.