Hours after 12 people were killed in an accident involving a minibus and a container truck on Maharashtra’s Samruddhi Expressway on Sunday, the police registered a case against the truck driver and two RTO staffers, an official said.
The three have been detained, he said.
The accident, which took place in Vaijapur area on the high-speed carriageway in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar district in the early hours, also left 23 people injured.
The minibus carrying 35 passengers crashed into the container truck after it was allegedly stopped by an RTO (Regional Transport Office) team on the expressway. The victims were on their way to Nashik from Buldhana.
A case has been registered against truck driver Brijesh Kumar Chandel and two RTO officials, identified as Pradeep Rathod and Nitinkumar Gonarkar, at Vaijapur police station, Superintendent of Police Maneesh Kalwaniya told reporters on Sunday.
According to the SP, the case has been registered under Indian Penal Code sections 304 (part 2), which is related to culpable homicide not amounting to murder, 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life of personal safety of others), 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life), 427 (causing damage) and 34 (common intention). he said.
The three are detained as of now and further action is underway, he said.
Earlier, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde ordered a probe into the accident apart from announcing ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh for the kin of each of the deceased.
Later, an official said that the RTO in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar had commenced an inquiry into the accident.
Leader of Opposition in the state legislative council Ambadas Danve had claimed that the minibus collided with the truck after an RTO team stopped the truck, terming the accident “manmade”.
Vehicles should be checked by the RTO after they cross the interchange toll and before entering the expressway, the Shiv Sena (UBT) leader said.
“The Samruddhi Expressway has become a business road. Police and RTO should stop vehicles on this expressway for a valid reason, which is not happening here. They should have checked the mini-bus which was overloaded,” he told reporters.
The Samruddhi Mahamarg, named Hindu Hrudaysamrat Balasaheb Thackeray Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg, is a 701-km-long expressway connecting Mumbai and Nagpur.
The first phase, connecting Nagpur to the temple town of Shirdi, was inaugurated by PM Modi in December 2022. It covers a distance of 520 km.
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Fadnavis inaugurated the 80-km-long second phase of the Samruddhi Mahamarg stretch from Bharvir village in Igatpuri taluka to Shirdi on May 26 this year.
A number of accidents have been reported on the expressway since it became operational.
(Published 15 October 2023, 19:08 IST)