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aaaThe Bombay High Court will from February 20 commence hearing into the appeal filed by a bus driver awarded death penalty by a Pune court for killing nine persons and injuring 37 others in a 2012 road rage incident.

Santosh Mane (36), a state transport bus driver, was awarded death penalty by a Pune sessions court in December last year on charges of murder. He approached the High Court challenging the sentence.

A division bench of Justices N H Patil and V L Achliya has posted the appeal for hearing on February 20. Along with Mane’s appeal, the court will also hear the death confirmation petition.

Mane was given death penalty in April last year on the same charges by the sessions court. However, when the death confirmation petition came up for hearing before the High Court, Mane’s lawyer claimed that the accused was not given a final hearing under section 313 of Criminal Procedure Code.

The High Court had then referred the case back to the Pune sessions court and directed it to first give a proper hearing to the accused before deciding the sentence.

In the lower court, Mane’s lawyer argued the accused was mentally unstable.

On January 25, 2012, Mane hijacked an empty state transport bus from the Swargate depot in Pune and sped off on the wrong side of the road catching oncoming traffic and people unawares.

Mane rode for about 25 kms during which he rammed into moving and stationary vehicles and pedestrians. He was later nabbed by the police.

(Source: PTI)

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