Thiruvananthapuram: A day after nine people, including five schoolchildren, were killed in a road accident on the Thrissur-Palakkad highway, officials of both — the Motor Transport department and the Kerala Police — are on a high alert and have started a thorough inspection.
The tourist bus ferrying 42 school children and five teachers to Ooty on an excursion trip driven at a speed of 97.2 kms/hr (exceeding the permissible speed of 70 kms/hr) rammed into the rear of a KSRTC bus killing nine on Thursday.
State Transport Minister Antony Raju said a detailed probe has begun by both the departments and the law will take its course.
“There is a problem with the Speed Governors and there are reports that the dealers of these buses have a role, when it is removed. All such aspects will be checked by the probe teams. We expect to complete the full probe into all the buses in the state in around two weeks and then we will take a call,” said Raju.
Meanwhile, the driver of the tourist bus Joemon, who slipped out from the scene of the accident after getting preliminary medical attention, fled the spot.
But on Thursday late evening, he, along with the owner of the bus and the manager, was taken into police custody 150 kms away from the accident spot while heading to the state capital for legal advice.
This morning, Ashokan the DYSP heading the probe team, after detailed questioning of the driver said they are trying to get more information and he has been charged under IPC 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder).
“His arrest has been recorded. We are trying to get information on what happened after the accident and also how it occurred. Over speeding is a cause, but we want to know other factors as well. We expect to get all the details shortly," said Ashokan.
The probe will also look into if the driver was intoxicated.
The Kerala High Court has also taken up the case suo-motu and directed the top Transport officials to appear in person before it.