A 21-year-old air force drill instructor supervising the Republic Day parade in the West Bengal capital died on Wednesday morning after being struck by a hit-and-run driver, who drove a new Audi SUV through three security barriers.
A gravely injured Corporal Abhimanyu Gaud was rushed from Red Road, where the rehearsal for the parade was on, to a military hospital but he couldn’t survive the crash.
Gaud from Surat in Gujarat and stationed in Odisha’s Kaliakunda air base was in Kolkata for the event.
The area was out of bounds for civilian traffic in view of the exercise.
The driver abandoned the car along Red Road, tore off the temporary licence number issued to new vehicles and sprayed a huge quantity of perfume inside the cabin before running away, police said.
Police identified the owner of the car as A Sohrab, son of Mohammad Sohrab, a former Rashtriya Janata Dal legislator for Burrabazar constituency in Kolkata’s business district. The vehicle was bought on January 11.
It could not be ascertained who was at the wheel when the car raced towards Corporal Gaud and hit him around 6.30am. Nobody was at Sohrab’s home when a police team reached there.
A defence official said the car knocked the officer off his feet and continued to move at high speed till it hit a barricade and came to a halt near Fort William, the military’s eastern command headquarters.
The impact was such that the car’s air bags inflated. “We were sure the car was recently bought since it did not have the metal licence plate. The vehicle’s engine and chassis number helped identify the owner. Video footage from surveillance cameras in the area was also examined,” an officer said.
(With agency inputs)