Manoj Netrapal Gautam, the 39-year-old accused in the drink-driving accident that left two people grievously injured at Oshiwara on Sunday, has told the police that he was not speeding and it was the auto rickshaw driver’s recklessness that led to the accident.
Gautam, in his statement to the police, said he was taking a right turn near Shreeji Hotel at Oshiwara on his way back to his residence at Lokhandwala fourth cross lane in Andheri (West) when he saw a speeding auto rickshaw moving northwards.
In an attempt to avoid colliding with the rickshaw he pulled the brakes, he said.
But because the rickshaw driver was speeding, a collision could not be averted, he added.
“Gautam said that it was the speed which led to the rickshaw overturning after brushing past his car,” said an official from Oshiwara police station, on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The police said the Regional Transport Office (RTO) had examined both the vehicles and will submit a report to the police shortly.
“Prima facie, the RTO officials have said that major damage to the rickshaw was caused to its roof because it overturned,” said the official.
The police added that because there was no one on the street when the accident occurred in the morning, the only witnesses were the three injured people and the rickshaw driver.
Mona Khandal, 25, who was in the autorickshaw and sustained injuries to her eyes and forehead, however, has rubbished the claims made by the accused. “We were moving on a freeway and out of nowhere, the accused’s car appeared.
The auto driver pulled the brakes, but the accused was driving at such a speed that the impact of the collision caused the rickshaw to overturn,” said Khandal. Gautam, when contacted, was unavailable at his residence to comment.
Mona’s sister Charu Khandal, 28, with a friend, Vikrant Goyal, 26, were seriously injured in the accident.