Bus driver who mowed down nine in Pune gets death

FPSantosh Mane being taken back to Yerwada Jail on Monday. Pavan Khengre

Describing him as a "remorseless killer" and a "heinous criminal" whose act was a "blot on humanity", a Pune court Monday sentenced Maharashtra state transport bus driver Santosh Maruti Mane to death for killing nine people in the city in a bizarre bus rampage last year.

Mane's crime of "using a bus as a weapon" fell in the rarest of the rare category due to the "revolting and ghastly" manner in which the "massacre" was carried out, additional sessions judge V K Shewale said.

On January 25, 2012, Mane, 41, mowed down nine people and injured 37 in a killing spree that lasted about 40 minutes on a 15-km stretch.

"You were fully aware that innocent people were being killed. Several people... appealed to you to stop when you crushed your first victim... But you, in your arrogance, continued driving the bus... with all knowledge and intention," the judge said, addressing Mane.

"Your act is inhuman, ghastly and immensely illegal... If I give you a punishment less than death, I would be undermining the law," said the judge.

Lawyers defending Mane had pleaded that he had committed the act in a fit of insanity. The judge, however, relied on the testimony of Mane's colleagues to conclude that when he committed the act, Mane was in a "completely sound mental condition".

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