It was a Black Day for Pune, reminiscent of the ghastly German Bakery Blast when innocent lives were snuffed out in minutes. Today, it was a maniac driver who went berserk on busy streets killing 9 and injuring 27 within an hour’s drive
Santosh Mane, the driver of Maharashtra State Transport Undertaking (ST) who had joined just two years back returned early this morning from an official run to Gangapur, known for black magic and located about 60 km from Solapur. While his colleagues believe it has something to do with he being ‘possessed’’ of some evil spirit that led him to do a dastardly act, the wicked reality was that a few hours later, around 8.15 am, he steered an empty ST bus through busy streets, where children were going to school, the elderly were returning from their morning walks and youngsters were heading towards their colleges and vendors were carting their goods for another day of business.
Mr Mane drove like a maniac for a good 16-odd km for nearly an hour, before he killed nine innocent people, mostly youngsters, injured 27 and damaged 30-odd vehicles. As news spread like wildfire, the rumour doing rounds was that terrorists had entered a bus and were on a killing spree. The reality was that Mr Mane, who later claimed “he did not know what he was doing’’ (and sorry there would be hopefully no divine intervention to salvage him), could not be stopped even by the cop who bravely climbed from the rear of the bus on to the rooftop and fired eight rounds on the vehicle, but to no avail. (Let us not delve prematurely into the fact of whether his pistol should have aimed at the tyres to deflate them or straight on to Mr Mane). It was only after nearly an hour of horrendous destruction of life and limbs that he could be stopped, after he hit a bigger vehicle leading to the slowing down of his bus.
After receiving beating from the public, which was chasing the bus on two-wheelers and the police van which was hounding him, Mr Mane has been handed over to the city Crime Branch for interrogation. According to Pune Police Commissioner MeeranBorwankar, “Though police put up barricades at various spots when they received alerts, Mane simply drove through them and carried on.’’
The injured were rushed to various hospitals but mainly to the largest public hospital of Pune, the Sassoon General Hospital. The doctors might have attended to the injured immediately but it’s not surprising to note that the CT scanner has been out of order since the last one-and-a-half years and so most of the patients had to be sent to a private hospital. One of the relatives mentioned that he has been patiently waiting for five hours and yet his nephew has not been sent for the CT scan. So much for the lessons learnt after the German Bakey Blast that occurred on 13 February 2010 when 27 young lives were lost and there was utter chaos to treat the injured who were rushed to Sassoon.
While questions would be raised about how Mr Mane was permitted to drive the ST bus out of the Swargate Depot (Ms Borwankar mentioned he had access to the master key as he was a regular employee), the fact is that families of the injured were being treated callously and like non-entities at Sassoon. Just as we saw in the Delhi blasts, VIP politicians (remember PMC elections are round the corner) were rushing as fast as they could to Sassoon to meet the injured and face television cameras. Predictably again, police bandobast was geared towards ensuring smooth VIP visit rather than hearing the cries of the near and dear ones who wanted information about the injured. Again, no lessons learnt from the German Bakery Blast where the scenario was ditto.
Now, let us see what the law enforcing authorities do with Santosh Mane? Will he be cozily imprisoned for endless time like AjmalKasab? Will he be in the news till public memory fades? Or will Pune witness history with a fast court trial and severe punishment to this culprit? As an agonized mother shouted, “No, no he is not mad, he has purposely killed so many.’’ She wants stringent punishment—that’s the least society can do for her.
Nifty to move in the range of 5,120 and 5,180
Optimism after the RBI’s CRR cut and a positive trend in the Asian region helped the local market trade in the positive for the entire session. However, the indices gave up some gains in late trade as key European markets edged lower after opening in the green. On the highest volume of 94.16 crore shares on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) in the current uptrend, the Nifty ended above the resistance of 5,150 we had mentioned in our closing report on Tuesday. The uptrend is expected to continue with the Nifty moving in the range of 5,120 and 5,180.
The Indian market will remain closed on Thursday, 26 January, on account of Republic Day.
Encouraged by the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) 50 basis point cut in the cash reserve ratio (CRR), the market extended its gains into the second day. A firming trend in the Asian markets in morning trade, some of which opened after the Lunar New Year holidays, also supported the gains back here. The Nifty opened 25 points higher at 5,152 and the Sensex resumed trade at 17,069, up 73 points above its previous close.
A small bout of profit booking in the first hour resulted in the benchmarks falling to their intraday lows. At the lows, the Nifty went back to 5,130 and the Sensex dropped to 17,017. The lows spurred buying interest in select blue-chips which took the indices to a higher trajectory in subsequent trade.
The upmove was marked by small bouts of profit taking, but a positive trend ensured that the indices stayed higher. The market hit the day’s high in late trade with the Nifty rising to 5,174 and the Sensex scaling 17,130.
However, the market lost some steam after the European indices pared early gains. The Nifty closed 31 points up at 5,158 and the Sensex settled at 17,077, a gain of 81 points.
The advance-decline ratio on the NSE was in favour of the gainers at 1116:557.
The broader indices outperformed the Sensex today as the BSE Mid-cap index climbed 1.25% and the BSE Small-cap index gained 1.11%.
With the exception of the BSE Capital Goods index (down 0.33%), all other sectoral gauged settled higher. The gainers were led by BSE Metal (up 1.79%); BSE PSU (up 1.24%); BSE TECk (up 1.20%); BSE Auto (up 1.15%) and BSE Consumer Durables (up 1.12%).
The toppers on the Sensex were Coal India (up 3.90%); Tata Motors (up 3.78%); Tata Steel (up 2.97%); Sterlite Industries (up 2.47%) and Maruti Suzuki (up 2.44%). The top losers on the index were Tata Power (down 2.09%); Jindal Steel (down 1.67%); Hero MotoCorp (down 1.43%); Larsen & Toubro (down 1.35%) and Hindalco Industries (down 1.08%).
The top gainers on the Nifty were Reliance Infrastructure (up 6.89%); Sesa Goa (up 5.78%; BPCL (up 4.97%); Tata Motors (up 3.83%) and SAIL (up 3.10%). The main laggards were Hero MotoCorp (down 2.48%); Jindal Steel (down 2.02%); Tata Power (down 2%); L&T (down 1.95%) and HCL Technologies (down 1.88%).
Markets in Asia settled higher on better-than-expected earnings reports from the US and lower yields of Eurozone bond auctions. On the flip side, Japan posted its first annual trade deficit in 2011 for over 30 years, as the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami pressured fuel import costs and the strengthening yen impacted exports. Japan reported a trade deficit of 2.49 trillion yen ($32 billion) for 2011, ministry of finance data showed on Wednesday, its first annual deficit since 1980.
The Nikkei 225 surged 1.12%; the Straits Times climbed 1.48% and the Seoul Composite added 0.12%. Among the losers, the Jakarta Composite declined 0.78% and the KLSE Composite lost 0.22%. At the time of writing, the key European bourses were trading lower and the US stock futures were mixed.
Back home, foreign institutional investors were net buyers of shares totalling Rs801.29 crore on Tuesday, whereas domestic institutional investors were net sellers of stocks aggregating Rs262.65 crore.
REpower Systems, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Suzlon Energy, has bagged a contract for delivering 25 wind turbines from US-based enXco. However, the company did not divulge the financial details of the order. Suzlon closed 3.01% higher at Rs27.35 on the NSE.
PBA Infrastructure has bagged contract worth about Rs54.42 crore from the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation for improvement and development of Dehu Alandi Road. The stock soared 19.97% to close at Rs46.85 on the NSE.
IT services major TCS has obtained a nod from the government to set up a Special Economic Zone at Indore, Madhya Pradesh. The company has got green signal at a time when SEZs have lost sheen as a vehicle of investment in the wake of imposition of Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) on the SEZ developers and units in the zones. The stock rose 0.60% to close at Rs1,095.20 on the NSE.