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Palghar baby’s death: ‘My dad has been jailed for helping a woman in need’

Updated on: 03 January,2023 06:27 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Diwakar Sharma |

As cops struggle to make any headway in the death of 10-month-old baby who fell off taxi, driver’s devastated family cries for help

Palghar baby’s death: ‘My dad has been jailed for helping a woman in need’

Vijay Prasad Mahavir Kushwaha, the arrested driver, being produced before a court. Pics/Hanif Patel

The MBVV Crime Branch has sought permission to conduct a narco analysis test on the driver who was arrested in connection with the death of a 10-month-old toddler and the alleged molestation of the baby’s mother. The cops, however, are also planning to conduct a polygraph test on the 19-year-old mother to get a better idea of the events that took place on December 10. This comes as the investigators are unable to prove the allegations levelled by the young tribal mother.

A senior crime branch officer said, “We have submitted the documents for the narco test [of the driver] in the court and we are yet to get the order. We are also planning to get the polygraph test of the woman who has been levelling serious allegations which seem to be baseless till now in our investigation.”

Police officers at the spot on Mumbai-Ahmedabad Highway near Pelhar where the accident took place. Pics/Hanif patelPolice officers at the spot on Mumbai-Ahmedabad Highway near Pelhar where the accident took place. Pics/Hanif patel

Vijay Prasad Mahavir Kushwaha, driver of the car in which the woman and her daughter were travelling along with six others, was arrested on the day of the accident. The woman, who was seated beside the driver at the time of the incident, alleged that a co-passenger threw her toddler out of the window and then others molested her. The police have recorded the statements of the driver and four of the six other occupants, but their statements do not match with that of the woman. Cops have learnt that the remaining two co-passengers work in garment factories in Bhiwandi and Palghar and are looking for them.

Also Read: Palghar baby’s death: Four co-passengers to be grilled

Meanwhile, the family of the arrested driver claimed that the driver was not at fault and that he tried to help the woman and her baby. His son Roshan, 25, in an exclusive interview with mid-day said, “How can a man who rushed the 10-month-old baby who accidentally fell off the running vehicle and her mother who sustained injuries after jumping off the same car to three different hospitals just so the baby could be saved be arrested? And that too for murder and molestation?”

Roshan Kushwaha, son of the arrested driverRoshan Kushwaha, son of the arrested driver

Roshan, who is also a cab driver and the eldest son of the household, said, “I have been running from pillar to post to get my father out of Thane Central Jail.”

He added that in the absence of his father, it has become difficult to run the family. “I have four younger sisters and one brother at home. I recently became a father of a baby girl. While we live in Vapi, my mother lives in Gaya district of Bihar. She has not been keeping well since the incident too,” he said, adding, “We are poor but law-abiding citizens of this country. If anything happens to my mother, will the law and government machinery, the police and administration bring her back? Why is no one ready to listen to the ordeal of an elderly man who has been framed [by the complainant] in this case to conceal her own mistake? We feel sorry for the loss of a 10-month-old girl child, but she was not killed by my father.” 

The deceased 10-month-old girlThe deceased 10-month-old girl

He added that as he is busy with the legal process to prove his father’s innocence and get him out of jail, he is also not able to earn enough money and had to resort to borrowing from friends to make the ends meet. 

Driver’s version

The incident took place on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Highway near Pelhar on December 10. The woman and her toddler boarded the cab to reach Manor. However, around 10 minutes later the baby fell off the vehicle following which the woman opened the door of the running cab and jumped off.  

The mother (in blue) claimed that a co-passenger threw her toddler out of the window and molested herThe mother (in blue) claimed that a co-passenger threw her toddler out of the window and molested her

“We have learnt that the woman had folded both her legs on the seat and her two bags were kept below the seat. The baby girl was playing on her lap. Immediately after boarding the cab, the woman requested the driver to give his cellphone to connect her husband. Since she had been insisting to call her husband, the driver gave her his mobile phone but the call did not go through as she had dialled only nine digits,” said an officer privy to the investigation.

Roshan said, “My father said that after the call did not connect, the woman handed the phone back to him and asked him to call the number. My father tried to call the same number again while driving, but he suddenly heard the woman screaming. Before he could understand anything, he saw the woman opening the door of the cab that was running at a speed of 60-80 km per hour and jumping out. He immediately applied the 
emergency brake.”

“After stopping the car, my father and a passenger came out to see what happened. Meanwhile, a patrolling van of Highway Police also arrived. One passenger picked up the baby and brought her to the cab while the woman and a highway cop sat in the cab. My father took them to three different hospitals to save the injured baby but it was too late,” he said. 

He added, “My father finally reached Mandvi police station in Virar East and narrated the incident to the police. However, he was detained. I learnt of this only in the evening and when I reached the station, my father had been arrested.” 

“Why is an innocent soul being punished for an offence which he has not committed? He has undersigned a document to undergo narco test so that the truth can come out,” he said.

Dec 10
Day when the incident took place

No. of hospitals that the 10-month-old was taken to

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