A birthday surprise planned by Jalandhar-based businessman Sanjay Sehgal ended in tragedy when he and three other members of his family were killed in a road accident, while on their way to Faridabad, near Gharonda in Karnal on National Highway-1 in the wee hours of Thursday.
Sanjay Sehgal, 52, his wife Kiran, 48, and his nephews Anshul, 18, and Parul, 17, died after a speeding truck rammed into their car, while Sehgal’s nephew Sonu, 20, and niece Pallavi, 16, sustained serious injuries.
The impact was so severe that after hitting the potato-laden truck, the car overturned, jumped the divider and rolled onto the other side of the highway. While three of the victims died on the spot, Kiran succumbed to her injuries at the Panipat civil hospital. Sonu and Pallavi were admitted to the Karnal civil hospital.
Sehgal had purchased a new Maruti Baleno on the Diwali eve and the family was going to Faridabad to surprise his only daughter, Deepti Katyal, whose daughter Akanksha had her first birthday on Thursday. Deepti had married a Faridabad-based engineer, Amit Katyal, last year. The family started their journey around 10:30 pm on Wednesday. At 3am, a person called Sanjay Sehgal’s brother Deepak (Parul’s father) in Jalandhar from Parul’s mobile phone to inform him about the mishap.
After the accident, the truck driver fled leaving the overturned truck. “A case under Sections 304-A (causing death by negligence) and 279 (rash driving or riding on a public way) has been registered against the driver of the truck (HP-12-C-9472),” said Gharonda station house officer (SHO) inspector Jagdish Mor.
The SHO said the truck was on its way to New Delhi and belongs to a Himachal Pradesh-based potato trader. “We have called the company officials after getting details from documents procured from the overturned truck,” he said.
Sehgal owned various businesses, including Student Book Depot and SS Provisions, a department store at the army canteen. He was also working as a collection agent for the Central Bank of India. Anshul and Parul had applied for a study visa in Australia after passing their senior secondary exams. Pallavi studies in Class 11 at BD Arya Girls College and Sonu works at Student Book Depot.
A pall of gloom descended on Mohalla 23 in Jalandhar cantonment after news spread about the accident. People closed their shops and gathered at Sehgal’s house to show their solidarity. Sehgal’s cousin Neeraj Sehgal said that being the eldest of four brothers, he was a caretaker of the entire family. He said Sehgal was a gem of a person who helped everyone in the locality. The family performed the last rites of the deceased in the evening.