Santosh Maruti Mane, who hijacked on Wednesday a Maharashtra State Transport (MST) bus and drove recklessly mowing down eight persons, injuring 32 and damaging many vehicles, was remanded to police custody till February 3 by a local court here on Thursday.
Police said they want to interrogate the MST driver to find out if the incident was premeditated and had any terror angle to it.
Mane (40), who is under suspension now, had driven away the bus from the Swargate depot. He ran amok on the city's streets for more than 45 minutes till he was caught by a group of citizens and policemen.
The case is being probed by the Pune Crime Branch now. The police have booked him under sections 381, 302, 307, 326, 324 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC); and sections 3 and 7 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
“The entire Pune city is horrified by the act of a person who was staff of the State transport service. So many people tried to stop him. But he drove on mercilessly. Being a driver, he knows the rules of the Motor Vehicles Act. Still he sped through ‘no entry.' He didn't stop even after seeing the agonised and injured people. Considering his act of brutality, he should be given police custody,” Ujjwala Pawar, District Government Pleader, said in the court while seeking 14-day police custody for the accused.
Stating the grounds for seeking remand, Ms. Pawar said: “We have to find out what happened exactly — if the act was pre-planned, whether there is any connection with any terror agencies. We want to find out if there are any accomplices in the conspiracy. We also want to conduct identification parade before the victims. We will gather chemical analyser evidence from his house, the place where he was residing. We also have to check his cell phone records to see the persons with whom he was in touch.”
There was no legal representation for Mane, who his family has alleged, suffers from mental illness.