It should have been a long-lasting feeling of accomplishment. But 20 youth, who had completed a fulfilling trek in the hills of Matheran, had their joy cut short. A speeding car driven by an allegedly drunk driver ploughed into them from behind, as they were descending down the Matheran-Neral road on Sunday afternoon.
One of the youth, Husain Dadla (26), is in coma and battling for his life at a hospital while four members of the group escaped with minor injuries.
Members from the group allege that the police are showing negligence, as they haven’t arrested the driver yet.
Neral police, however, stated that since the driver was badly injured, they couldn’t take a risk by arresting him, and will only do so after he completes his medical treatment.
According to witnesses, the driver of the car, who was identified as Keyur Ghosar (24), was driving under the influence of alcohol, and lost control at a turn on the Ghat road, and rammed the car into the trekkers.
The impact threw five of them onto the protective railing, while Dadla was flung over the barrier, and hit his head on a hard object on the ground that left him unconscious.
Four people who were with Keyur in the car (MH- 01-GA-3723) fled the spot but the hikers managed to nab Keyur. Dadla was rushed to a local hospital in Neral, but was later transferred to Life Line hospital, Panvel.
The trekkers along with a policeman, who was on-duty close to the accident spot, took Keyur to Neral police station.
Firoj Wadiya, who was part of the trekking team, said, “We started walking towards Neral after visiting a waterfall around 3 pm. A few minutes later, a speeding car hit us from behind. None of us suffered grievous injuries, except Dadla who was badly injured and lay unconscious at the spot. We took Keyur, who was heavily drunk, to Neral police station. Police officials took my statement at around 7 pm and then took Keyur to a Karjat hospital for a blood test.”
Why the wait?
Surprisingly, Neral police did not file an FIR for 24 hours despite having all the necessary details, and let Keyur go home without registering an offence.
They only registered an FIR at 5.30 pm on Monday evening.
The police gave Wadiya a copy of his statement and asked him to go home when he enquired about why they didn’t arrest Keyur.
When Arjun Boitare, assistant police inspector at Neral police station, was asked about the delay in registering an FIR and the arrest, he said, “We did not have enough evidence to file an FIR. Since Keyur was grievously injured we did not arrest him, as we did not want to take any risk due to his deteriorating health. Hence, we asked him to go home. We have asked him to come to the police station once he completes his medical treatment. He may come on Monday evening, then we will arrest him.”
Boitare also claimed that he would have to wait for over a month to confirm whether Keyur was under the influence of alcohol, since the blood report will not be received before thirty days.
Dadla, an accountant by profession, is a resident of Mohammad Ali Road, South Mumbai.
“We admitted him in this hospital at around 8 pm on Sunday and he is still in a coma. Doctors told us that blood clots have formed in his head and he’s been kept on a ventilator. So he is still not out of danger,” said Awra Dadla, his sister.