Pune: Bus driver Santosh Mane, who mowed down nine people and injured 37 others on city streets in January last year, was today sentenced to death by a local court.
Additional Sessions Judge V K Shevale termed the crime committed by the Maharashtra State Transport driver as "rarest of the rare" and said he killed people by running them over, fully conscious of the consequences of his act.
Rejected the defence argument that Mane had committed the crime in a fit of insanity, the court passed strictures on the defence witness and psychiatrist Dilip Burte for giving "false evidence" in court.
The judge, who had convicted the driver of murder on April 3, observed that Mane was fully conscious of his actions as he did not dash the vehicle against any building on the roads but targeted people to kill them.
"The accused has committed the murder of nine persons by moving the bus dangerously with the intention and knowledge that the act was so imminently dangerous that it will cause death or bodily harm," the judge observed.
Mane was held guilty under sections 302 (murder), 381 (theft of employer's property), 307 (attempt to murder) and 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means) of the Indian Penal Code.
Defence counsel Dhananjay Mane said his client would appeal against the sentence.
Mane had hijacked a state transport bus from Swargate depot here on the morning of January 25, 2012, and mowed down nine persons, injuring 37 others in a nightmarish ride on the city streets that sent shock waves in the area.
A dozen vehicles were also damaged in the mayhem unleashed by the driver, who was finally stopped by police and members of public after a hot chase.