A car belonging to Ganesh Jadhav, deputy president, Transport Wing of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), Pimpri-Chinchwad, knocked down three pedestrians in the busy area of Mahatma Phule Mandai, Bajirao Road and Tulshibag late on Tuesday evening. The man behind the wheel was Jadhav’s cousin Nisarga Sanjay Shinde.
The police said after an inebriated Shinde was finally caught and asked to show his driving licence, he instead flashed the visiting card of his cousin and made a display of his political connections.
Shinde’s cousin Jadhav was not available on his mobile for comment. People who watched the nightmare unfold compared it to the crazed drive by State Transport Bus driver Santosh Mane that killed nine people two months ago.
Shinde (31), a resident of Talawade village, was driving the car with the registration number MH-12/AX 1936 from Mahatma Phule Mandai to the adjoining Shanipar Chowk towards Bajirao Road around 8 pm. Scared pedestrians and vendors ran helter-skelter to escape the speeding car.
“The car took a sharp turn towards Tulshibaug area and hit three people walking on the road,” Police Constable Shankar Kumbhar, who was on the traffic control duty, said.
Kumbhar chased the car on foot and stopped it near the Laxmi Road junction. He also snatched the ignition key and asked Shinde for his licence. “It was shocking for me when Shinde gave me the card of one Ganesh Jadhav, an MNS leader from Pimpri-Chinchwad. I virtually pulled out Shinde from the driver’s seat,” Kumbhar said. “Shinde was behaving as if nobody could touch him as his brother was a political leader.”
The car had the emblem of the MNS flag. The post held by his cousin was also written on the car. Manoj Salunke, president, MNS, Pimpri-Chinchwad, said the party would look into the matter even though Jadhav was not directly involved in the incident.
“We shall certainly conduct an inquiry into the entire episode. Apparently, there was no direct involvement of Ganesh Jadhav, but we will ask him how his car was given to Shinde, who drove it so rashly,” Salunke said. “The inquiry will be conducted without fail, as this is an issue that concerns the image of the party.”
API Ajay Waghmare, who checked the car to determine whether it was stolen, said Shinde was drunk. “We discovered nothing objectionable inside, but found that Shinde was in a drunken state,” Waghmare said.
A complaint was lodged by one of the injured pedestrians, Pravin Geetaram Kalamkar, a resident of Pimple Saudagar. Kalamkar sustained injuries on his left foot, which was hit by the car wheel, and he was admitted to a private hospital for treatment.
Shinde was booked under Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act and Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code. Shinde was accompanied by a friend, Ashish Kadam, who was also under the influence of alcohol.
Suryakant Kamat, a pedestrian who was standing in the vicinity of Tulshibaug when the incident occurred, saw the car hitting people as it sped down the road. “I wondered whether the psychologically imbalanced State Transport driver Santosh Mane was roaming free again and now driving a car to hit people on the road,” Kamat said.