It took all of five seconds. It purred into the portico of Le Meridien Hotel, the cynosure of all eyes. Not unusual for a Rs 4-crore car, even at one of New Delhi’s luxurious hotels. In moments though, the white Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder garnered eyeballs for a different reason.
For, on July 3, at 1.30 in the afternoon, a valet hit the accelerator instead of the brake on the high-end car, scattering people, careening into another sedan before ending at a wall barely 15 metres from where it had taken off. That 15-metre journey has caused damage seemingly beyond repair.
The car in question is owned by a businessman, Abid Fateh Mohammad Khatri, but was in the care of Nipun Miglani, owner of a pre-owned luxury car showroom, Big Boys Toys.
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On that afternoon, the car was driven by a cousin of Miglani, an official of the company said. “As far as the car is concerned, it is damaged beyond repair. We have suggested that the hotel buy the vehicle, but that has been declined. We have been negotiating so far to get the residual value of the car, which is Rs 1.17crore, at the very least, because the damage to the vehicle is far too much,” the official said.
CCTV footage of the incident, which has gone viral on the internet, shows the Lamborghini pulling into the porch of the hotel, where there are several other vehicles parked. People are also seen milling around. The Lamborghini stops for a few seconds with the valet stepping out.
He then gets in again, and the car lurches forward at high speed, hitting another sedan in front of it, sending it spinning. At least three people have close escapes, with the Lamborghini racing past them, before colliding with a wall.
Miglani said, “The valet took the car at the entrance. He drove to the portico, stepped out and then sat inside again. And this time, instead of the brake, he stepped on the accelerator. The car went out of control. Contrary to reports, we have not sued the valet. Nothing will be achieved by doing that.”
Senior officers of the Delhi Police said they were not involved in any way since no complaint had been filed with police. “A call was made to us on July 7. When we went to the hotel, nobody came forward with information. However, it must be said there is no complaint by either party. If there was to be one, we will investigate the incident,” a senior police officer said.
A statement issued by Le Meridien Hotel said, “An inadvertent human error resulted in cosmetic damage to the car. We are fully cooperating with the owner of the car with respect to insurance claim. The registered owner of the car is Mr Abid Fateh Mohd Khatri. Due to this inadvertent error, our driver suffered minor injuries and was provided medical assistance.”
Asked about the valet, a spokesperson at the Le Meridien hotel said the valet remains employed with the hotel.