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'I didn't kill anyone,' says Pune's 'berserk' driver

'I didn't kill anyone,' says Pune's 'berserk' driver
Pune "I did not do it. The incident was a shocking one. And I came to know about it only through newspapers," said Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) driver Santosh Mane to psychiatrists at the Yerawada Mental Regional Hospital during his 10-day stay at the facility.

Mane was admitted there after a local court directed he be kept under observation at the mental hospital following such a recommendation from doctors at the Sassoon hospital. Mane was caught after he went berserk with an MSRTC bus on the roads of the city on January 25, killing eight people and injuring 30.

He was yesterday produced before Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) Umeshchandra More. The investigating officer submitted the medical report before the court. The court remanded Mane in magisterial custody. His identification parade will be conducted at the Yerawada Central Prison before eyewitnesses and people injured in the incident.  

The medical report submitted before the court was stated to have observed that Mane's examiners' findings do not point towards any major psychiatric illness during the period of admission. Mane was earlier produced before the JMFC on February 1, but as doctors at the Yerwada Regional Mental Hospital had sought more time to conduct his mental status tests, the court had directed that he be kept there till February 6.

When produced before JMFC More, Mane gave satisfactory answers and told his name, age and address correctly, but claimed innocence before the court. Dr Vilas Bhailume, superintendent of the Yerawada hospital, told MiD DAY: "The team of four psychiatrists observed Mane round-the-clock. Clinical psychologists also conducted psychometric tests on him but did not point out any major psychological illness.

"This is contrary to reports shared by doctors at Sassoon, who suspected Mane was suffering from psychosis. And his medical history also suggests a history of mental illness.

"During his stay at the hospital he did not go violent or hysterical. He did not show any specific signs of mental illness."

Dr Dilip Burute, a psychiatrist from Solapur who claims to have treated Mane a year-and-half ago, said he did not remember the exact reason for which Mane was referred to him. He said he faintly remembered Mane was suffering from sleeplessness and that he had the problem of incoherent talking. "I'am yet to trace his pres- criptions, but I faintly remember I had diagnosed that he was suffering from mania," he said.

When did he read newspapers?

Santosh Mane was rarely supplied newspapers, said doctors at the regional mental hospital. They said he had instead asked for religious and spiritual books, which he said made him feel better.

Court demands explanation on date

The magistrate observed that the police, while praying for sending Santosh Mane to the mental hospital, had submitted to the holiday court on January 28 that Sassoon hospital gave a written medical opinion dated January 27 saying Mane needs observation in a mental hospital. But there is no medical certificate by the Sassoon hospital dated January 27.

"The observation to send the accused to mental hospital is dated January 25 at about 2 pm rather than January 27. Therefore, explanation of IO (investigating officer) is required on this point," the magistrate stated in his order.
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