Mumbai: Mulund doctor crushed by speeding tempo while trying to avoid pothole

Dec 09, 2017, 16:05 IST | Santosh Wagh

Dr Prakash Vaze, 67, who was also a chess mentor to many, was run over by a tempo while trying to avoid a pothole

Mumbai's grand old man of chess, Dr Prakash Vaze, 67, is no more — he died in a road accident in Mulund yesterday. He was on his way home on his scooter, with his assistant riding pillion, when a speeding tempo rammed into the two-wheeler from behind, crushing Dr Vaze to death and injuring his assistant. Vaze, who made chess popular among school and college students, was known for organising the maximum number of chess competitions in the state through the Dr Prakash Vaze Sports Foundation.

The spot in Mulund where the accident happened. Pics/Rajesh Gupta
The spot in Mulund where the accident happened. Pics/Rajesh Gupta

The accident happened around 1.30 pm, when Dr Vaze and Hanumant Hegde were returning home from Thane, where they had gone to pick up trophies for the winners of a chess competition organised on Saturday. The speeding goods tempo dashed into Dr Vaze's scooter from behind near Anand Nagar toll naka in Mulund East.

Also read: Navi Mumbai: Vashi pothole claims constable's life

Tragedy on road
"We were on our way when he spotted a large pothole in our way at the last minute and slightly lost control over the vehicle. Just then, the tempo hit us from behind. I don't remember what happened after that," Hegde told mid-day.

Dr Prakash Vaze was on his way home on his scooter
Dr Prakash Vaze was on his way home on his scooter

Senior inspector of Navghar police station Madhav More said, "Dr Vaze and Hegde fell down on impact. Dr Vaze's head was crushed under the rear wheels of the tempo, while Hegde's hand came under its front wheels."

Dr Vaze died on the spot. His body was taken to Rajawadi hospital for post-mortem. Hegde is undergoing treatment at Hira Mongi hospital. The tempo driver, identified as Nilkanth Chavan, has been arrested under sections 304A (causing death by negligence), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 279 (rash driving) of the Indian Penal Code.

The tempo and its driver Nilkanth Chavan
The tempo and its driver Nilkanth Chavan

In mourning
Dr Vaze used to live with his wife Prajakta, 62, in Pradhan building on GV Scheme Road in Mulund East. Dr Vaze, a BMS (Bachelor of Medical Sciences), used to practise from a dispensary near his residence.

The spot in Mulund where the accident happened
The spot in Mulund where the accident happened

His brother Vijay, a retired customs officer, said, "His love, passion and enthusiasm for sports never diminished. He had been organising competitions for over 20 years; he was also the captain for Podar medical cricket association. We are all shaken by this incident."

Dr Prakash Vaze
Dr Prakash Vaze

Dr Vaze had also been part of many First Class cricket matches as an umpire. A close friend of his, Dr Deepak Tandel, said, "He would always encourage school and college kids to play chess and would organise competitions. His contribution in boosting the game's popularity at the grass-root level and identifying and encouraging budding talent was exemplary."

Tempo driver Nilkanth Chavan
Tempo driver Nilkanth Chavan

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The man himself
Dr Prakash Vaze would have been looking forward to the Nirmala Vaze Memorial All India Open FIDE rating rapid chess tournament organised by his sports foundation over the weekend in Mulund (East). He was associated with cricket as well, having won the DK Naik gold medal for umpiring in 1987. Many a young cricketer received medical attention from the good doctor during club matches. His work to promote chess in the eastern suburbs was peerless. Off the chessboard, as it were, Dr Vaze did not make a wrong move. His press releases never failed to start with a word of thanks for support to his previous events.

He was sensitive to suburban sports buffs to such an extent that he had initiated an eastern suburban win of the Churchgate-based Dr HD Kanga Memorial Library. Unfortunately, the library, housed at his Mulund dispensary, had to close down. "Commuting to Churchgate was difficult for cricket lovers; so I thought of this idea, which then secretary of the library, Ramesh Kosambia, liked. had to shut it down six years ago because the management couldn't afford the costs involved. I managed to get around 100 members in a year. Unfortunately, the interest in sports books was not exploited properly by the library management," he'd told mid-day in 2013.

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