Two years after 42 people were killed in a truck accident at Ranghola village of Bhavnagar district, the sessions court of Bhavnagar, on Monday, convicted the truck driver and its owners of causing deaths by negligence. It also sentenced them to imprisonment for five years and two years respectively.
The court of Sessions Judge Shubhda Baxi pronounced truck driver Nitin Vaghela and truck owner Paresh Kuvadiya guilty under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Motor Vehicle Act (MVA) for causing death by negligence, driving the heavy commercial vehicle without a valid driving licence and driving it without a valid vehicle fitness certificate. The court awarded five years of imprisonment to Vaghela and two years of imprisonment to Kuvadiya.
“With the help of testimonies of eye witnesses and documentary evidence, we could bring on record to the satisfaction of court that Vaghela was driving the truck which fell off the under-construction bridge and that Kuvadiya was owner of that truck. We could also prove that Vaghela did not possess a valid driving licence to drive a truck and that Kuvadiya did not have a vehicle fitness certificate for the said truck. Appreciating the body of evidence on record, the court pronounced the accused guilty,” Vipul Devmurari, incharge district government pleader for Bhavnagar, told The Indian Express.
A truck carrying a marriage party from Anida (Kumbhan) village of Palitana in Bhavnagar district, had fallen off an under-construction bridge on state highway 25, at Ranghola village of Umrala taluka of Bhavnagar district on March 6, 2018.
The truck plunged into the dry bed of the local river, killing 25 persons on the spot, while 18 others had succumbed to their wounds in hospitals.
The truck was carrying the marriage party to Tatam village of Gadhda taluka in neighbouring Botad district. Parents and grandparents of the bridegroom were among those killed in the accident. However, the bridegroom and a few other members of his family were travelling in a car.
“Witnesses testified that Vaghela, also a resident of Anida village, had borrowed the truck from Kuvadiya to ferry the marriage party. However, those who were sitting in the driver’s cabin of the truck and also in the cargo bay of the vehicle, said that Vaghela was driving rashly that morning. He had even ignored a speed breaker before the accident at the bridge,” Devmurari further said.
Vaghela had escaped the accident with minor injuries and had fled the scene of accident on the motorbike of another member of the marriage party. However, he was later arrested by police.
The prosecutor said that while Vaghela was taken into custody after he was pronounced guilty, the court granted bail to Kuvadiya.Raj
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