Brakes had failed, claims driver of bus that crushed three to death in N-E Delhi

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Published on Sep 25, 2020 11:43 PM IST
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By, New Delhi

The driver of the speeding cluster bus that crushed three people to death and injured three others in north-east Delhi’s Nand Nagri late Thursday night, told police that the brakes of the vehicle had failed. Senior police officers said they are getting a mechanical inspection of the bus done, which will ascertain the driver’s claim.

The accident took place around 9.30pm, police said. Three persons -- 12-year-old boy Karan from Mandoli, 22-year-old Ravinder Pal from Ghaziabad, and 40-year-old Amar Singh, a daily wager -- were killed by the speeding bus plying on Route Number 261 (between Sarai Kale Khan and Nand Nagri).

Three injured persons, including a woman and 16-year-old boy, are still undergoing treatment at a hospital in north-east Delhi, the police said.

Police said an irate crowd later vandalised the cluster bus and shouted slogans against Delhi Police. They blocked the road and even chased away a police van for “arriving late at the spot”.

They also stopped an ambulance from taking the injured persons to a hospital. A video made on phone by an onlooker showed an irate crowd pulling off the ambulance the stretcher carrying an injured boy. In the video, a few people can be heard shouting slogans against the police and were seen blocking the road.

The errant driver, Pushpender Singh, who had fled the spot on seeing “the angry crowd”, was arrested in the early hours of Friday, police said. He was booked for rash and negligent driving and for causing death due to negligence.

Deputy commissioner of police (north-east) Ved Prakash Surya said Singh told the police that the brakes of the bus had failed while it was descending the ITI flyover with nearly 15 passengers on board and that led to the mishap.

“The driver has said after the brakes failed, he first tried to stop the bus by driving it on to a concrete road divider. But the bus did not stop even after ramming the divider -- it went on to hit a mini truck. The driver then lost control of the vehicle and it crashed into a vendor’s cart and ran over a few pedestrians,” the DCP said.

Surya said the police are verifying the driver’s claims about the sequence of events. “A mechanical inspection of the bus will be done to verify of the brakes had failed,” he said.

Cluster buses are managed by private concessionaires and regulated by Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System ( DIMTS).When asked about the brake failure of the bus, as alleged by the driver, DIMTS did not respond.

Spokespersons of the Delhi government also did not offer comment on the matter on behalf of the transport department.

Witnesses told the police that after hitting the mini truck, the bus rammed a vendor’s cart and hit a few more people before coming to a halt. Around six to seven were injured in the accident, of whom a man and a boy died on the spot while the third man died during treatment at Swami Dayanand Hospital.

The incident also sparked a law and order situation as a mob of over 100 people vandalised the cluster bus and pelted stones on it. The mob also vented their anger on the personnel of a police patrolling van that had reached the spot. They chased the van away and blocked the main road,before staging a protest and shouting slogans against the police.

DCP Surya said nearly 60 police personnel from three police stations and the reserve battalion were rushed to the spot to contain the situation and avoid further violence.

“The agitators dispersed when they were assured of swift police action. Some minutes later, some women also arrived there to stage a protest and block the road. But we intervened and cleared the spot. The situation was brought under control within half an hour and no untoward incident has been reported since then,” he said.

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