Legal problems deepen for Sumer Dharmesh Merchant, the accused in the Worli Jogger's accident case, as the report from the Regional Transport Office (RTO) has confirmed that the 23-year-old was overspeeding at the time of accident. This comes after his medical report showed traces of alcohol content in his blood when he was behind the wheel.
After conducting a technical analysis of the vehicle, the RTO said that Merchant was driving at the speed of 95-100 km/hour before he hit a 58-year-old CEO of a tech firm, Rajalakshmi Vijay Ramakrishnan, while she was jogging at Worli sea-face on March 19. The speed limit at the sea-face is not beyond 40 km/hour, said the Worli police, who are handling the case.
Vehicle was speeding beyond 90 km/hour
“Preliminary probe had already suggested that the vehicle was speeding beyond 90 km/hour, however, it could not be added to the charge-sheet, as there was no proof. Besides the RTO report, the blood report of the accused says that his body had alcohol content beyond the limit prescribed for driving. All this will strengthen the case,” said a police officer. The urine test result of the accused is yet to come, added the official.
Accused says he was 'jet-lagged'
In his version, he adamantly claims to be 'jet-lagged', 'sleep deprived' due to 15 days of travel to the US and lack of sleep even after returning - which was three days before the accident.
On the day of the accident, Merchant and his two friends, after partying at the former's residence in Tardeo the entire night, were on their way towards Dadar. The female friend of the accused, who was in the car, said to the police that they had asked Merchant not to drive as he hadn't slept. However, he didn't heed them, she added. Whereas, Merchant has said that he was jet-lagged and sleep deprived due to 15 days of travel to the US.
Rajalakshmi was out for her daily morning run when at around 6.20 am she was knocked down by the vehicle. Owing to the impact of the collision, she was tossed almost 20 feet away and died on the spot.