Mumbai: Youth dies, friend critically injured in hit-and-run

A speeding Scorpio rammed into a newspaper stall where the two were standing; the injured youth’s sister was to get married, and family later decided to go ahead with ceremony

A trip to a newspaper vendor turned fatal for one of two friends, and disrupted the wedding celebrations of the other’s sister on Sunday at Santacruz, after a hit-and-run incident.

Onlookers say the Scorpio which caused the accident had two occupants
Onlookers say the Scorpio which caused the accident had two occupants

Shoaib Solanki was killed on the spot, while Salim Gafoor (in pic) was critically injured when a speeding white Scorpio rammed into a parked motorbike and then a newspaper stall where they were standing. Gafoor’s family later decided to hold the wedding without any celebrations.

Salim Gafoor
Salim Gafoor

Solanki and Gafoor, both 22 years of age, lived in the same building at Santacruz and studied at the same college, Raheja, at Juhu. On Sunday, their friendship was dealt a cruel blow when a speeding white Scorpio rammed into a parked motorbike and then a newspaper stall where they were standing, killing Solanki on the spot. Gafoor was admitted to the Bhabha Hospital and later shifted to the Nanavati Hospital.

According to a witness, the accident occurred at 11.30 am, when the vehicle, MH-03-Z-6939, which had an NCP sticker on the number plate, was speeding when the driver took a left turn from Linking Road extension towards an area called Daulat Nagar in Santacruz. Bystanders say the driver lost control and collided with a parked motorcycle, and the car then smashed into the paper vendor’s stall, where the two youths were standing.

Such was the speed of the vehicle that when it finally collided into a parked Indica before coming to a stop, that car was pushed nearly twenty feet away, into an iron railing. The driver and another occupant of the car allegedly ran away after the incident.

Fourteen-year-old Atul Singh, a friend of the two youths who was also there at the paper stall, said the vehicle narrowly missed running over his feet. “Everything happened within a fraction of a second. Suddenly, both my friends were lying in a pool of blood and one person wearing a white striped shirt and formal black pants got out of the Scorpio and ran away,” he said.

The other occupant of the vehicle, who also ran away, is said to be wearing denim jeans and a dark shirt, claimed another witness, who did not want to be identified. When mid-day visited the Gafoor residence at Sai Shraddha at Santacruz on Sunday afternoon, their relatives and friends, who were unaware of the accident, had started gathering for the daughter’s wedding. The place had been decorated and a nearby caterer’s kitchen had already prepared biryani.

“All our men folk are in Bhabha Hospital, eagerly awaiting news on Salim’s condition. We had already booked a hall in Santacruz (East) for the wedding and are totally shattered by the accident,” said Fatima, Salim’s elder sister. The family later decided to go ahead with the ceremony.

For neighbours in the building, Sunday was a day of mixed emotions as they decided to bury Solanki after the wedding. No one was at the Solanki house. Shoaib’s father, Ayub, a civil contractor, was at Bhabha Hospital at the time. His mother has gone to Rajasthan for medical treatment, neighbours said.

Cop speak
According to the investigating officer, API Arun Kadam of Santacruz police station, an FIR pertaining to causing death by negligence and absconding from the accident spot has been registered. “We have confiscated the vehicle and, based on the registration number on the licence plate, we shall track the accused soon and take appropriate action,” he said.

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