Three people died of burns and one was injured when an ambulance in which they were allegedly smuggling poppy husk collided with a container truck and caught fire on Sunday, the police said.
After the collision, the container carrying new cars too caught fire, the police said.
The incident occurred near Nayagaon village on Mhow-Neemuch state highway around 1am.
Assistant sub-inspector Bhagwat Singh from Nayagaon police outpost said the dead, all between the age group of 25 and 30, were identified as Ishwar Yadav, Prashant Mishra and Dinesh Gwala of Mandsaur. The injured was identified as Gaurav Vyas and referred to Udaipur for treatment. Singh said the youth were allegedly smuggling poppy straw from Mandsaur to Udaipur in the ambulance.
"It is very difficult to ascertain the exact quantity of poppy husk as a large amount got burnt. Now the investigation will solely depend on Vyas' statement," Singh said.
This was the second fatal road mishap reported on the highway in the last 12 days. Earlier, three people from Ratlam were charred to death after their vehicle caught fire on March 17.
Singh attributed the cause of such accidents to rise in one-way traffic after a metallic welcome gate collapsed on the outskirts of Nayagaon village. He further said as the youth were allegedly smuggling poppy husk in the ambulance, they must have been in a hurry and collided with the container truck in high speed.
SDOP Indrajeet Bakarwal said a case of death caused by negligence will be registered against the driver of the container truck and a case under the NDPS Act will be registered against the four youth.