A secret joyride by a car cleaner in the Maruti Swift Dzire car of an under secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) ended up in snuffing out the lives of two friends in south Delhi’s Gulmohar Park area on Monday morning.
The accident took place at 6.45am on August Kranti Marg and the victims — identified as Sultan Singh, 50, and his friend from Bangalore Raghu Rajan, 48 — were out for a morning walk. The incident happened on a day when Singh’s daughter was to get engaged. Rajan had come to Delhi to attend the wedding ceremony.The eyewitnesses said that the car was moving at a speed of over 100 kmp when the driver lost control and the car climbed the pavement near gate number 1 of Gulmohar Park Journalist Colony. Singh lived with his family at his Gautam Nagar residence that is a few hundred meters away from the accident spot.
According to a police officer, the car is registered in the name of the wife of an under secretary in MEA. The car had stickers of MEA and the Delhi Traffic Police on its windscreen.
Singh’s family members have alleged that the car was being driven by a close relative of Pande and that the police were trying to hush up the matter since the car belonged to a senior MEA officer. The police, however, have refuted the allegations.
The officer said that Manish — the accused car cleaner —who has been arrested, had taken the car for a joyride with his five friends without Pande’s knowledge.
“At 6.30am, Manish took the car keys from his employer for cleaning the vehicle. He then took out the car and along with his friends, went to August Kranti Marg for a joyride,” said the officer. On the way, the officer said, he lost control over the vehicle and mowed down the duo victims. Manish is an amateur driver, though he has a driving license, the officer added.
“After climbing on the pavement, the left side roof of the car smashed into a tree before hitting the victims. While one of the victims fell on the road and suffered severe head injuries, another got stuck under the car that dragged him on the road for around 100 meters. All the occupants of the car boarded a bus and escaped from the spot,” said Santosh, an eyewitness, who runs a tea kiosk in the area.After the accident, the officer said, Manish went to the MEA official’s residence and returned the key of the car without informing him about the accident. "The MEA made a PCR call to inform that his car was stolen after he found the car missing. We told him about the accident," added the officer.