Less than a week after a private bus owned by a transport company of an Akali leader mowed down a teenager in Mukstar, another bus of the same company on Thursday crushed a 12-year-old girl at Makhu town, 60 km from Ferozepur.
Sources said the bus (PB-30-N-8978) belonging to New Deep Transport Company — which is owned by Gidderbaha Akali leader Hardeep Singh “Dimpy” Dhillon — was on its way to Bathinda when it hit the girl near Maujgarh village.
The girl, identified as Gurpreet Kaur, daughter of Palwinder Singh of Diyalpura village in Tarn Taran, had alighted from a tractor-trailer and was trying to cross the road when the accident took place. She died on the spot.
Police have registered a case under Indian Penal Code section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) against bus driver Pardeep Singh who has been arrested. “We have impounded the bus,” said Zira deputy superintendent of police Hardev Singh Boparai.
Beant Singh, the manager of the bus company’s Ferozepur branch, claimed that the bus was in good condition and its papers were in order. “The driver was experienced too. It is unfortunate. The girl was behind the trailer and failed to notice the bus coming from other side,” he said.
Former Punjab minister and Congress leader Inderjit Singh Zira, who reached the site soon after accident, sat on dharna on the Ferozepur-Amritsar road along with the girl’s relatives, demanding strict action against the bus owner and driver.
Dhillon is Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) halqa in-charge of Gidderbaha and a confidant of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.
On December 11, Arshdeep Kaur, 14, was run over by a bus belonging to Dhillon’s company at Channu village in Muktsar. While the driver and conductor fled, angry villagers set the vehicle afire. The dharna was lifted when the girl’s family was allegedly paid rs 10 lakh, apparently by the bus company.