Potholed roads coupled with flared tempers led to the death of a 28-year-old man on Friday night in the Jamia Nagar area of southeast Delhi.
The victim, a tempo driver identified as Dharamveer Kumar, was killed when marble slabs, which he was trying to protect from a furious car driver who also assaulted Kumar, fell on him.
Kumar was ferrying the slabs to a Jamia Nagar warehouse when he was attacked in an incident of road rage that led to the accident. His fault: His tempo hit a pothole and bumped into a parked Santro.
The incident occurred at about 10 p.m. on Friday when Kumar, along with another person, was on his way to deliver the slabs from Noida to Jamia Nagar warehouse.
At the Jamia Crossing, the front wheel of his tempo got stuck in a pothole. In that jolt, the tempo also hit Santro's rear.
"The accused had parked his car on the main road. When the tempo got stuck in the pothole, a portion of it hit the Santro car of the accused. He then got into an argument with the victim,” said Additional Commissioner of Police (Southeast) Virendra Singh Chail.
The ACP said that the Santro owner, identified as just Mann, along with his three friends who also lived nearby, got into a heated argument with Kumar over the damage to the Santro.
"When Mann asked for compensation, Dharamveer (Kumar) told him he was just a driver. Mann then saw the tempo loaded with marble slabs and asked for the slabs in return for the damage done to his car," said a senior police officer.
But Kumar refused and stood guard near the tempo’s backdoor to stop the accused from forcibly taking the slabs.
"When Dharamveer resisted, Mann attacked him with a blunt weapon on his forehead. Dharamveer, who was holding the lock of the backdoor, lost his balance and fell," the officer said. Once the lock came undone, the backdoor opened and the stacked slabs fell on him one after the other, killing him, the officer added. Kumar's companion placed a call to the police control room. Kumar was taken to Holy Family Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival.
A case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder has been registered against the car driver, who is absconding.