Moscow and Yerevan are in the middle of the investigation into the accident that took place in November of 2015, near the Russian city of Tula. Driver Garnik Harutyunyan is in a detention facility in Moscow, he is the main defendant. The autotechnical forensic examination has established new circumstances, according to Karen Nersisyan and Ruben Kirakosyan, driver’s lawyers, representatives of the “ARMROSS” Russian-Armenian Association of Lawyers. “Garnik Harutyunyan categorically denies his guilt in committing a traffic accident. Both he and we are increasingly convinced that the versions, spread as rumors in the press regarding the fact that the driver fell asleep at the wheel, or was talking on the phone or exceeded the speed limit, do not find their confirmation,” told RUSARMINFO Karen Nersisyan and Ruben Kirakosyan.
The defense has strong evidence and arguments, trying to prove them through conducting an additional analysis. However, the investigation had rejected the attorneys’ petition, whereupon they appealed against the refusal of the investigator in court. The trial on the matter is expected to take place on February 5, 2016. “As a result of the conversation with driver Harutyunyan and familiarization with the limited amount of materials, provided by consequence, we have increasingly come to a conclusion that in this case the cause of the tragic accident, most likely, was a technical malfunction of the bus. The version of a manufacturing fault can also be considered,” said Ruben Kirakosyan. The “ARMROSS” representatives have found out that the buses of this brand and series were produced by a Chinese manufacturer of all three units, and further their release was discontinued. “This circumstance gives reason to believe that this series of buses was experimental and not approved for mass production, and, even more, it was not intended for export. We hope that Armenian and Russian investigators will find the opportunity to check this fact, since no certification is supposed to be for the further operation of this bus either in Armenia or in Russia,” explained the lawyer.
The representatives of the defendant are also interested in the circumstances of the acquisition of these buses by the Armenian transport company. “We will not even be surprised if it turns out that these buses have not been certified in Armenia. Unfortunately, the honesty and integrity of the Armenian supervisory bodies in this area are called into question by citizens,” said Ruben Kirakosyan. According to the lawyer, the investigation has chosen the easiest way to establish the causes of the accident: to prove the guilt of the owner of the transport company is more problematic than to accuse Harutyunyan. The term of the preliminary investigation is extended until April 2016, but because of the complexity of the case and the volume of documents, there can be a further extension: the international investigative assignments have been sent to Armenia, but the lawyers are not informed about them. The Accident under Tula occurred on Nov. 3, 2015. The bus, en route from Moscow to Yerevan, carried more than 60 passengers; all of them were citizens of Armenia. As a result of the accident, 45 people were injured, 32 passengers were hospitalized and 9 – killed.