In a shocking revelation, the Regional Forensic Science Laboratory (RFSL) of Amaravati has confirmed that the driver of the bus involved in the tragic accident in Buldhana district of Maharashtra on July 1st was intoxicated. The blood tests conducted on the driver, identified as Danish Sheikh, detected alcohol, according to the RFSL report. Buldhana SP Sunil Kadasane has confirmed to the Free Press Journal that alcohol has been found in the blood of driver Danish Sheikh.
The accident took place on the Samruddhi Expressway on wee hours of July 1, 2023 and resulted in the loss of over two dozen lives, with passengers being charred to death.
High traces of alcohol in driver's blood led to bus tragedy
"The Regional Forensic Science Laboratory (RFSL), Amravati, conducted a chemical analysis report, revealing that the bus driver, Danish Sheikh, had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 30% above the legal limit at the time of the accident. The legal alcohol limit in Maharashtra is 0.03% or 30mg alcohol in 100ml blood" said an official.
The RFSL also confirmed the completion of DNA analysis for 23 bodies, while reports for two victims are still awaited. According to the laboratory, the fire that engulfed the bus was fueled by diesel, causing its rapid spread and leaving little opportunity for the 25 victims to escape.
"The forensic report considered various pieces of evidence, including tire marks and the absence of evasive maneuvers, leading to the conclusion that a tire burst did not cause the accident. Instead, the evidence pointed to the driver falling asleep, resulting in the bus colliding with the median wall. The driver, Sheikh has been booked under Section 304 of the Indian Penal Code for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. If convicted, he could face 10 years of imprisonment and a fine" he added.
Bus vehicle involved in the accident had 2 dozen traffic violations
It was discovered that the bus involved in the accident had been issued over two dozens traffic violation fines. However, the bus owner had only paid six of them, leaving several fines unpaid. Authorities also believe that the consumption of alcohol may have contributed to the driver's drowsiness prior to the accident. Survivors' statements will be recorded before a magistrate under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The bus journey began with another driver, Arvind, who drove from Nagpur to Karanja. Danish took over from Karanja and entered the Samruddhi Mahamarg at 11:08 pm. The accident occurred at 1:32 am, approximately 152 kilometers into the expressway. The blood sample collected from Danish was obtained after his arrest, and sources indicate that the alcohol percentage may have been even higher while he was driving.
Police are still investigating the culpability of Danish Shaikh
Following the accident, Danish Sheikh was initially taken to the hospital in Deulgaon Raja and later taken into custody by the Sindkhedraja police of Buldhana. The police are still investigating the culpability of the bus owner and are verifying ownership details and other records. The RFSL team is currently focusing on completing the DNA analysis for the remaining two victims to facilitate compensation disbursement by the district administration.