Six-year-old Gautam Naidu, who was killed after a private school bus knocked him and his mother down on Wednesday afternoon, was looking forward to his birthday, which was just two days away, the police said.
His father, Ravi, 38, now faces the daunting task of informing his wife, Lata, who has fractured her right leg and is in hospital, and his older son of their loss. Outside Bhagwati hospital, where his wife has been admitted, Ravi stood crying inconsolably even as his relatives held him closely and tried to comfort him.
“I have not told her about Gautam. I have asked my neighbours to take care of Mukesh. I don’t know how to break the news to them,” said Ravi, who runs a sticker lamination business.
The family lives at Daruwala Compound in Malad (west). Both Gautam and his brother, Mukesh, 12, are students of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Vividhlakshi Vidyalaya in Kandivli (west). Their mother, Lata, works as a house help.
“Lata had seen the bus approach and shouted, but it was too late. As she rushed to shield Gautam, the bus hit her leg. Before she passed out, she saw her son’s crushed head,” a relative, who did not wish to be identified, said.
In shock, 35-year-old Lata, was seen wailing in the Intensive Cardiac Care Unit of the hospital. “Someone please tell me what has happened to my son. Why won’t anyone tell me?” she cried. “My child was innocent.”
The bus, hired by parents from Mehta Travel Bus Agency, was ferrying children from Gautam’s school to their homes when the accident took place. Veenaben Mehta, owner of the bus, said: “The bus has been working for kids from this school for 22 years. We are extremely saddened by this mishap.”
Jokhanlal Yadav, a BEST employee who was standing in for the original bus driver, had fled the spot and was arrested from his Malvani residence later. “Yadav is a BEST employee and was working on a temporary basis with the agency as the driver of the bus is on leave because of some health issues,” said H Pimple, senior inspector, Kandivli police station.
Yadav has been booked under sections 279 (rash driving), 338 (causing grievous hurt) and 304A (causing death due to negligence) of the Indian Penal Code. He will be produced before court on Thursday.
The police said Yadav has undergone a medical test to ascertain whether he was driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident.
The bus will now be inspected at the Regional Transport Office to determine if the accident occurred because of human error or mechanical failure.