A day after the Andhra Pradesh Transport Department gave a clean chit to Diwakar Travels, after an accident in February that killed 11 people, the Hyderabad High Court has questioned the move.
The bus had plunged into a culvert on the Krishna River, near Vijayawada. The travel company is owned by the family of TDP MP JC Diwakar Reddy.
An investigation had showed that the bus had violated the Motor Transport Workers Act (MTW), 1961, by not registering with either Andhra Pradesh or Telangana.
Writing for the Times of India, Sagar Kumar Mutha reported that the HC asked the Andhra government, the reasons for ignoring the Act, while hearing a public interest petition filed by a Hyderabad-based advocate.
The bench asked the state, on what grounds the IAS officials gave a clean chit to the travel company, and gave the state three weeks to file a detailed affidavit.
“Without bringing the firm into the state's monitoring mechanism, it is unfair on the part of the AP officials to claim that everything with the firm is alright," TOI quotes the petitioner's counsel as saying.
Advocate K V Subba Reddy had filed a PIL earlier, after which the HC had asked for a response from the prinicipal secretaries of the transport and labour departments.
In their response, the two secretaries gave a clean chit to the bus and the travel company, and said that all provisions of the law were met, also claiming that there were two drivers on board the bus, and that the vehicle had been in operation for the last one year, and met all safety standards.
The bus fell into a culvert on the Hyderabad-Vijayawada highway on February 28, in the early hours of the morning, killing 11, including the driver, Adinarayan Reddy.
Following the accident, the police did not file a case against Diwakar Travels, but rather booked the dead driver for the accident, which triggered a strong protest at the time from opposition parties.
Anantapur MP Diwakar Reddy was also recently in the news for creating a ruckus at the Visakhapatnam airport and misbehaving with IndiGo staff.
The MP had arrived late for his flight, and the airlines had initially refused to issue a boarding pass.
Following the incident, most domestic airlines have banned the MP from travelling with them.