Virar biker's death: Father wanted to gift luxe car to get him to stop riding superbike

Updated: 06 December, 2018 09:41 IST | Diwakar Sharma | Mumbai

Following Virar resident Zoheb Merchant's death, his father Sultan claims the superbike had multiple 'technical glitches' which caused fatal accident; he has, however, ruled out foul play

Zoheb Merchant
Zoheb Merchant

A day after Sultan Merchant lost his son Zoheb in a bike mishap, he told mid-day he was about to buy a high-end car for him, just to get him to stop riding his superbike which allegedly had 'technical glitches'. Sultan claimed that the M V Agusta F3 800 had multiple problems, which engineers failed to mend.

'He was crazy about it'
He said, "I always desisted Zoheb from riding the superbike, but he was crazy about it. He would try to get his mother and sometimes me to ride it as well. We all knew that there were technical glitches in his bike, and they couldn't be rectified by technicians. Four days ago, we were talking about gifting him a Range Rover, so we could convince him not to ride the superbike."

Despite the issues, Sultan has not raised suspicion regarding any foul play. But, he did say, "He died due to a mechanical failure in his motorcycle. If only I'd kept the superbike's keys with me and never allowed him to ride it."

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Wanted to sell the bike
The bike had been purchased under Zoheb's younger brother Faiyaz's name in April 2017 for Rs 20 lakh from a showroom in Pune. Zoheb's friend alleged that three months after the purchase, the 'swing arm' of the bike snapped while the bike was in motion. "After much hue and cry, the company agreed to rectify the fault. An engineer had come from Italy to repair it for free. The whole process took six months," said the friend, requesting anonymity. The family had also thought of selling the bike. Faiyaz said, "We never wanted to get the bike back because it was dangerous to ride. We wanted to sell it, but the executives of the bike company convinced Zoheb to take it back."

About the accident
Zoheb's friends spoke in greater detail about Sunday's incident. Zoheb was riding the bike on his way back from Dahanu Road, where he and his riding group had gone for breakfast, when the mishap occurred. The accident took place between 9:15 am to 9:30 am near Manor. A friend who was part of the riding group said, "We were all riding at a speed of 80-90 kmph. Zoheb was the best rider amongst all. While crossing Manor, Zoheb was thrown off his bike due to mechanical fault in it; his helmet came off as well. He then hit a road divider."

Sultan was told that, "Zoheb managed to get up and showed a thumbs-up to his friends. He walked towards his bike and kept it aside." Another friend of his said, "After the accident, we rushed him to a nearby ambulance that took us to the Mandavi hospital. In the ambulance, Zoheb told us that his arm was aching and he was unable to talk. We thought the accident fractured his collarbone. By the time we reached the hospital, Zoheb was alive. But after we reached, he died. The doctors tried to revive him, but all attempts failed."

Soon after, his friends called Sultan, Faiyaz and the youngest brother Saif. They rushed to the hospital. "We told uncle that Zoheb's superbike skidded and he has suffered minor injuries as there was no scratch on his body. All of wear safety gear while riding our superbike," added the friend. Zoheb's post-mortem (PM) was conducted at a government-run hospital in Virar West. "The PM report has revealed that Zoheb died due to an injury to his head, lungs and liver," said Dr. Vipin Jain from the hospital. Zoheb's last rites were conducted at Nariyalwadi in the Aaram Bagh area of Reay Road. On Monday evening, the Merchant family's relatives and friends from Dubai, Muscat and USA made a beeline to offer condolences.

Cops to inspect bike
Speaking to mid-day, Palghar superintendent of police, Gaurav Singh said, "The superbike will first be inspected by the police-appointed technicians to ascertain if a mechanical fault caused the fatal accident. If need be, we will also summon the executives of the motorbike company for questioning."

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First Published: 04 December, 2018 09:28 IST

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