Police jeep that killed woman 18 yrs ago still untraceable

Aug 21, 2012, 07:18 IST | Naveen Nair

Public information officer provides list of 33 jeeps that were on patrol duty to the victim's husband asking him to identify the registration number of the jeep

For 18-long years a man has been running from pillar to post in an effort to get justice after his wife was allegedly hit and killed by a police jeep on May 15, 1994.

Sevantilal Mohanlal Vora and Sushilaben Vora
Battle-weary: Sevantilal Mohanlal Vora and (inset) Sushilaben Vora who was 56-years-old when she was hit and killed by a police jeep near Sandhurst Bridge on May 15, 1994. Pic/Bipin Kokate

The vehicle has not been traced till date, and Sevantilal Mohanlal Vora (80) claims to have written over 50 letters to chief ministers, home ministers, police commissioners and DCPs seeking intervention since the tragedy befell him and his family. The Voras have been relentlessly pursuing the officials for some breakthrough in the case, but the Mumbai police have failed to identify the jeep that killed Sushilaben Vora, then 56 years old. As a result, the family is not entitled to avail any sort of compensation. Sevantilal filed an RTI query on May 19 this year and received a reply on June 12.

Sevantilal lives with two daughters and two sons in Gita building on Pandita Ramabai Road at Gamdevi, and he has been a resident there for over 39 years.

“My wife was killed in an accident involving a police jeep 18 years ago and the police are yet to find the vehicle that claimed her life,” Sevantilal said.

He blames the Mumbai police department for failing to ensure that the official responsible for Sushilaben’s death is identified and brought to book. Sevantilal refuses to believe that the police have no clue about the vehicle despite 18 years of investigation.

“After sending letters, I have even personally met a few of these ministers and police commissioners, who assured me that they would issue special orders to find the jeep. So far, there have been no results,” Sevantilal said.

He added that the ministers have been sending letters to officials from one office or another regarding this case, but no action has been taken at the ground level so far.

The Voras have been devastated after Sushilaben’s death and her children have given up hopes of seeing justice served. Finances have been hard-hit after Sevantilal closed down his woollen yarn business around 10 years ago and his sons now supply stationery goods to earn a livelihood for the family.

In a last ditch-effort, Sevantilal sent a letter to Mumbai Police Commissioner, Arup Patnaik’s office. He received a response and was directed to Nagpada police station where the public information officer provided him with a list of the police jeeps that were on duty on May 15, 1994.

DCP (Zone II) Nisar Tamboli, said, “It is a very old case and hence I will have to look at the papers before commenting on this issue. The complainant is welcome to meet me on any working day with the papers and I’ll instruct my officers to take action accordingly.”

Tragedy strikes
Sevantilal visited Babulnath temple religiously each morning and would feed the pigeons on his way back home. May 15, 1994 was a Sunday and Sushilaben was visiting the temple at around 7.15 am, while Sevantilal stayed at home. She fed the pigeons and was returning home when a speeding police jeep coming from Sandhurst Bridge knocked her down and sped away towards Walkeshwar. The impact hurled her into the bonnet of a fiat car coming from the opposite direction. She was rushed to Nair hospital, but had succumbed to her injuries on the way. The post-mortem report conducted in JJ Hospital stated that she had died of a haemorrhage and shock due to the multiple injuries she had sustained.

Leads so far
In reply to the RTI filed the following details were furnished:
>> Detailed list of 27 jeeps with complaints of defects as on May 15, 1994
>> Detailed list of 33 jeeps with patrol routes as on May 15, 1994
>> Public information officer provides list to Sevantilal, asks him to identify the registration number of the jeep 

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