After towing van crushes 52-yr-old, mob sets it ablaze

"They should be made to see my brother's mutilated body so they realise what kind of death they have given him," said Deepak Mehta of the occupants of the van that trampled his brother, Kritibhai, as he was forced to come to terms with his untimely and ghastly death. 

Around a quarter past 10 in the morning yesterday, Kritibhai (52) was walking to work when a towing van came hurtling down at the Damji Shamji Shah Chowk, Pant Nagar, Ghatkopar (East), veered a turn, and crushed him by pinning him against a tempo parked near the curb. Death came swiftly.

Locals surrounded politicians at the scene of crime. Cops took a few hours
 to disperse the crowd. Pics/Sayed Sameer Abedi .

Vinod Naik, an eyewitness, said, "A tempo was standing at the side of the road and workers were offloading its cargo in a nearby general store. The victim was walking close to the footpath. Just then, this towing truck took a dangerous turn and knocked the victim, wedging him between itself and the stationary tempo."

Kritibhai, employed in the accounts department in a private firm, was the sole earning member of the family.

Angry mob
As a seriously injured Kritibhai was rushed to Sion hospital, where he was declared dead owing to severe skull damage, a huge mob ghearoed the scene. Angrily, the people confronted the van's driver, Imran Khan, and his co-passenger, Traffic Constable Arun Kadam. Eyewitnesses claim that the two were in an inebriated state and tried fleeing the spot, while the driver didn't have a driving licence.

Flaming anger: Policemen and locals douse the flames after the angry
mob set ablaze the towing van allegedly responsible for Kritibhai's death.

In a fit of rage, the mob vandalised the towing van, even set it afire. Soon, local netas and residents came to the spot along with the police. It was chaos for the next couple of hours. Protesters alleged that the Pant Nagar police assisted the driver and the constable to flee from the spot.  "The constable should be suspended, and the protesters spared," said MLA Prakash Mehta. "The towing van didn't have a visible number plate.

Moreover, the locals complained to me that the traffic police here used to extort money for parking," said BJP leader Balchandra Shirsat who was present at the location. The Pant Nagar police dispersed the crowd, but only after a big brouhaha.

'Foul play'
The relatives of the deceased suspect foul play in the manner the police handled the investigations. One of Kritibhai's family members said agitatedly, "Why did the police choose to take the accused and Kirtibhai all the way to Sion hospital for medical examination, instead of Rajawadi hospital, which is nearby."

Around two hours later, after the family's protestations, the two accused were brought to Rajawadi hospital for medical examination at 3.45 pm. "We have also demanded that Kritibhai's postmortem be carried out again at Rajawadi hospital," the kin said.

DCP (Zone VII) Sanjay Shintre said, "Medical tests (to verify allegations of drink driving) of Constable Kadam and driver Imran Khan were conducted twice, at Sion and Rajawadi hospitals. Both the times, the reports came negative." He added, "The driver didn't possess a driving licence."

Both the accused have been arrested under Sections 304 (2), 279 of IPC and Sections r/w 134(a), 134(b), 180, 181,177, 184 of the Motor Vehicles Act. The traffic police claimed that the driver was employed by a private contractor Prakash Yadav.

When MiD DAY called up the contractor on his mobile, he said we had the wrong number and hung up, switching off his phone.

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