The driver of a towing van, contracted to the traffic police, knocked down and killed a 54-year-old man in Ghatkopar (east) on Thursday. The van was speeding down Damji Samji Chowk in Pant Nagar despite the fact that a traffic constable was travelling in the van, seated next to the driver.
The victim, Kirit Mehta, was crushed between the towing van and a stationary tempo that the van smashed into.
The driver, Imran Baitullah Khan, 19, and the traffic constable, Arun Shankar Kadam, 42, have been arrested. Kadam is attached to the Vikhroli traffic police chowky.
“The towing crane was going at high speed and took a steep left turn without slowing down,” said an officer from Pant Nagar police station, requesting anonymity. “Mehta was crossing the road when he was knocked down by the crane, which went on to crash into a tempo parked on the side of the road. The impact of the collision was so strong that the tempo fell on an MTNL telephone connection box, and it was uprooted.”
Mehta, a Ghatkopar resident, was an accountant by profession. His daughter had got engaged just two days ago, and he was preparing for her wedding, which was to take place in December.
After the accident, a crowd of around 1,500 residents gathered at the spot, demanding that the police register a case of murder against the accused. Ketan Karani, who witnessed the accident, said: “The driver ran away, but Kadam could not move as the van’s left door got jammed. We surrounded the vehicle, caught hold of Kadam and took him to the police.”
The police tracked Khan down later in the day.
After several witnesses alleged that both men had consumed alcohol, the police sent their blood samples to Sion and Rajawadi hospitals. However, the medical reports did not show the presence of alcohol in their blood.
“There is definite negligence on the part of the accused. Strict action will be taken against them,” said Sanjay Shintre, deputy commissioner of police (zone 7).