19 warnings issued for speeding, tourist bus owner arrested for helping driver escape

Nine people were killed and over 40 others injured on Wednesday after the tourist bus hit the rear-end of a KSRTC bus at Vadakkencherry. (Right) Owner Arun. Photo: Bijin Samuel.

The owner of the tourist bus 'Asura,' involved in the deadly accident in Palakkad on Wednesday killing nine, has been arrested.

The owner Arun, native of Pambady in Kottayam, has been booked for helping driver Jomon escape the police clutches.

He had also not taken any steps to reduce the average speed of the bus despite being cautioned against speeding 19 times.

Earlier on Thursday evening, the police had booked driver Jomon aka Jojo Pathrose too. He was detained from Kollam district, on Thursday.
"A case under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) including section 304, 337 and 338 have been registered against the driver. He will be produced before court soon," a senior police official told PTI.
Section 304 IPC deals with punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. The other sections deal with rash and negligent acts, endangering lives of others.

Driver Jojo Pathrose with the cops. Photo: Manorama Online.

Nine people including students, a teacher and KSRTC bus passengers were killed and over 40 others injured on Wednesday after the tourist bus hit the rear-end of a KSRTC bus in Palakkad's Vadakkencherry.

The tourist vehicle was driven at a high speed, over 97 km per hour, and the accident happened while the driver attempted to overtake a car, State Transport Minister Antony Raju had said on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Motor Vehicle Department took action against 134 buses on Friday for violation of rules. 11 buses were found to have tampered with speed governors and 18 had illegal lights attached to them. The MVD has slammed a sum of Rs 2.16 lakh on these vehicles for various violations.

The checks will continue for about 10 days. 20 tourist buses in Kakkanad, 13 in Vandiperiyar, Idukki and 36 in Alappuzha were fined.

In most buses, the number plates were found hidden and were fitted with air horns that produce excessive noise. Many are plying roads without paying taxes. In four buses that reached Kakkanad, the speed governors were found disconnected. They also had laser lights, subwoofers and smoke machines. The buses have been warned that their fitness certificates will be cancelled if they are not taken off completely after the trip.

The Kerala High Court on Friday batted for a change in the road and driving culture in the State, following the accident and said it was concerned over recklessness of the drivers and lives of citizens on the road.

Justice Devan Ramachandran, who had intervened in the matter had sought a report from the police and the Motor Vehicles Department, today said it was "heartbreaking" to listen to the news of the accident.

State Transport Commissioner S Sreejith, who is also the State Road Safety Commissioner, appeared before the court and submitted the various aspects and issues faced by the respective departments.

(With inputs from PTI)

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