The judgement cited benefit of doubt while also pointing out to several procedural lacunae in the police investigation.
The chargesheet filed against Kauthankar, a resident of Revoda, Bardez, stated that on January 18, 2014, he drove a Kadamba bus in a rash and negligent manner while proceeding from Panaji to Bambolim and dashed a pedestrian, Caitano Rodrigues, who was crossing the highway near Hotel A Estrela in St Cruz. Rodrigues succumbed to his injuries on the way to Goa Medical College and Hospital, Bambolim.
At the time, a wedding party was underway at Hotel A Estrela and Rodrigues was the maternal uncle of the bride.
The prosecution examined six witnesses, including the conductor of the bus and two investigating officers, in support of its case.
In his magisterial statement, the accused denied the charges and said that there were two cars and a two wheeler in front of his bus and that he witnessed a car ahead of the bus dash the pedestrian. He further stated that he stopped his vehicle and that the driver of the car had fled.
Several witnesses said that they saw a dent on the driver side of the bus and one shoe fallen on the left hand side of the road. Witnesses also admitted that the bus was on the correct side of the long, straight road. Incidentally, the scene of accident panchnama did not show the point of impact and the spot where Rodrigues had fallen.
Referring to the shattered front and rear window glasses of the bus, the judgement states, “The question arises as to how the damages were caused to the bus in the rear portion of the bus. It is also hard to believe that the dent was caused to the bus.”
The Court also observed that when while the accident occurred at 8.50 pm, when there is traffic on the road, no independent public witnesses were joined in the case.