The police has added the stringent provision of Section 304 of IPC, or culpable homicide not amounting to murder, against accused Irfan Bilakiya in the case of the Sealink accident, which took place on the Bandra-Worli sealink on October 5.
Five toll booth workers lost their lives and nine persons were injured in the accident. Bilakiya had allegedly ignored reflector batons shown by toll booth staff drove at high speed and changed lanes, thus causing the accident, according to the case chargesheet submitted to court by Worli police station.
The chargesheet relies on eyewitness statements, one of them a 28-year-old toll booth staff who was injured in the accident. The eyewitness said he and his colleague were giving safety instructions to cars, after a Swift car had met with an accident there earlier.
An ambulance and a towing vehicle had also arrived, he said. All vehicles had put on parking lights, he said, when the Hyundai Creta, cut lanes from the second to the fourth. The eyewitness said he jumped to the side but the Creta hit his colleague and the car in front. His colleague died on the spot.
Seeking bail earlier, Bilakiya, 40, said he was a victim of the failure of the system and that authorities had not followed safety precautions and barricaded the site where cars had stopped on the expressway. He had said the mishap was a “simple human error” that happened because of their lapses.
The police have in their chargesheet said that some vehicles had stopped on the fourth lane of the sea link because of the earlier accident and reflector cones were placed near them. It said that the Creta was speeding and the accused also ignored indications by toll employees with red reflector batons that cautioned about an accident.
On seeing the reflector cones, the the car changed lanes, the chargesheet said, from the second to the fourth lane and hit the Swift car, resulting in the death of five toll booth employees on the spot and grievous injuries to others. The accused, left the car and fled without informing the police, it said.
The offence of Section 304 of IPC, if proven, is punishable by life or a term of ten years with fine. The police had earlier invoked the less stringent Section 304(2), which is punishable by ten years in jail. They have dropped Section 304A , causing death by negligence, which is punishable by up to two years jail or fine or both.
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