A speeding car ran over a sleeping pavement dweller and injured another late Thursday night in Jaipur but police might run into difficulties during the investigation as the sole witness is untraceable.
The accused, Jitendra Singh, allegedly told police he dozed off at the wheel of his Renault Duster and run over a beggar sleeping on the pavement under the Khasa Kothi flyover. He is out on bail with tests showing he wasn’t inebriated when driving, police said.
“We are yet to identify the deceased and it is being speculated that he was a beggar who used to sleep on the footpath under the flyover. The other person sustained minor injuries,” said sub inspector Harpal Singh, who is investigating the crime. But the injured man – the only witness of the crime – couldn’t be found as he allegedly left the hospital premises unnoticed after getting primary treatment.
“We have confiscated the SUV and a case will be lodged against the accused under section 279- rash driving and section 304-culpable homicide not amounting to murder,” said the investigating officer.
Other pavement dwellers told HT the injured person was a Nepali labourer who earned his livelihood by doing odd jobs at weddings and parties.
“I guess he will be back after a few days when everyone loses interest in the case,” said Satvir, a labourer. He said that the Nepali labourer escaped possibly because he was afraid of police interrogation. Officials said he wasn’t admitted and no personnel were deployed to shadow him.
“If a person is admitted in hospital and then he absconds, we lodge a complaint. But if he is not admitted and only receives treatment for minor injuries, then it is not our responsibility,” Jagdish Modi, in-charge of the emergency ward in SMS Hospital, said.
Beggars and daily wage earners said rash driving in the area was common every night and the 250-odd people who sleep on the pavement under the flyover run the daily risk of being run over.
“We were sleeping on the opposite pavement when the accident happened. It could have been any of us,” said Satvir a labourer, pointing towards the mottled bloodstains.
Satvir called out to a person sitting on the other side of the pavement with a pair of crutches beside him. “He was also hit by a car a few months ago and he doesn’t have any money to treat his injuries. No one really cares whether we live or die.”