A car with a Traffic Police Department sticker on its windshield, driven by an allegedly drunk man, crashed into a group of people in Chembur early on Sunday, injuring five, one of them critically.
Ashok Kahar, the 29-year-old driver of the wrecked Chevrolet Optra, was booked for driving in an inebriated state. At around 2 am, when Kahar passed the Ghada Khardev Nagar junction in Govandi, he lost control of the vehicle and hit the five people near Neeldurg Hotel in Chembur, the police said. The victims were either walking on the footpath or looking for an auto rickshaw, the police said.
It was, however, not clear how the sticker — later removed by the police after they seized the vehicle — got onto the car or whether the car actually belonged to the traffic department.
Asked why the sticker was removed before the police had completed investigations, all Police Inspector Narayan Jadhav from the Chembur police had to offer was this: “The badge was removed to do the panchnama; we are looking out for the owner of vehicle.”
Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Vijay Kamble said the sticker was only used by traffic officials and if the owner of the vehicle was not in the department, then he was misusing the sticker.
Over 3,700 people have been booked after the traffic department started its drive against drink driving in June; many of them jailed from one day to 30 days. The neighbouring Navi Mumbai traffic police, too, have registered 550 cases of drink driving since July.
Kahar, a resident of Vakola, is the fifth drunk driver involved in a road accident this year.
The injured, identified as Hemant Chaganbhai Daka (31), Kishore Daiford (20), Sadashiv Sargar (35), Navnath Navle (34) and Haresh Sawant (24), were admitted to Sion hospital. Daiford, a student of Acharya College, is in critical condition.
Meanwhile, the Navi Mumbai police booked 103 people for drink-driving and collected Rs 1.88 lakh in fines on Saturday night.