THE DRIVE SAID TO HAVE BEEN ACQUITTED BY THE JUDGE ON THE GROUNDS OF BENEFIT OF DOUBT DUE TO PROCEDURAL LAPSES BY THE POLICE.
Getting convicted in the case of an accident causing death is very rare and in most of the cases accused gets an acquittal. This is the case of rash and negligent driving against the KTC driver Ashok Kaunthankar and accorded to the charges, driver Ashok had driven the Kadamba bus negligently causing the death of a pedestrian at St. Cruz. According to the sources, Judicial Magistrate First Class, Panaji acquitted Ashok Kauthankar, a Kadamba bus driver, of the charges of rash driving and causing death by negligence in a 2014 accident case investigated by Old Goa Police.
What are the most shocking things here, in this case, is, the judgment has cited the benefits of the doubt while pointing out several procedural lapses in the investigation. According to the charge sheet filed by the Old Goa police against Kauthankar, a resident of Revoda, Bardez, stated that on January 18, 2014, he drove a Kadamba bus in a rash and negligent manner while proceeding from Panaji to Bambolim and dashed a pedestrian, Caetano Rodrigues, who was crossing the highway near Hotel A Estrela in St Cruz. Rodrigues succumbed to his injuries on the way to Goa Medical College and Hospital, Bambolim.
The sources have further revealed that, At the time of the accident, a wedding party was underway at Hotel A Estrela and Rodrigues was the maternal uncle of the bride. The prosecution examined six witnesses, including the conductor of the bus and two investigating officers, in support of its case.
In his magisterial statement, the accused denied the charges of hitting the victim and said that there were two cars and a two-wheeler in front of his bus and that he witnessed a car ahead of the bus dash the pedestrian. He further stated that he stopped his vehicle and that the driver of the car had fled. Several witnesses said that they saw a dent on the driver side of the bus and one shoe fell on the left-hand side of the road. Witnesses also admitted that the bus was on the correct side of the long, straight road. Incidentally, the scene of accident pathname did not show the point of impact and the spot where Rodrigues had fallen.
Referring to the shattered front and rear window glasses of the bus, the judgment states, “The question arises as to how the damages were caused to the bus in the rear portion of the bus. It is also hard to believe that the dent was caused by the bus.” The Court also observed that when while the accident occurred at 8.50 pm when there is traffic on the road, no independent public witnesses were joined in the case.