On the night of January 28 this year, a crane carrying a generator backed into an auto-repair shop in Okhla village and ran over a 23-year-old auto driver who was sitting there warming himself by the fire. Crushed by the heavy vehicle, the man died instantly. Seven months later, police have still not been able to trace the driver or the owner of the crane.
The FIR describes the vehicle as a “metro crane (recovery van)” with a “tow generator trolley”. The family of the deceased, Arun Kumar, alleged that the crane belonged to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, and that police were trying to “shield” the accused. The family has now approached the Delhi High Court, seeking “proper investigation” and “strict action” against police for the “delay”.
According to the plea filed by the family, through advocate Jaikush Hoon, the crane driver had “blindly reversed” the vehicle, even though people sitting by the roadside had raised an alarm. Arun was hit by the vehicle and fell on the road. He was then was run over by it.
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The driver abandoned the crane on the road and fled the spot. The crane has been sitting at the Jamia Nagar police station since the incident.
Police have informed the court that they had been unable to trace the owner or the driver.
In a status report filed before the bench of Justice Siddharth Mridul, the Jamia Nagar police have said that an inquiry has been conducted by the MLO transport authority, Faridabad, Haryana, where the alleged offending vehicle was registered, to collect ownership details.
“The officials of the Faridabad RTO have submitted in writing that ownership details of the offending vehicle could not be provided as the record was destroyed in a fire at the office in 2002,” said the report. Police also claimed that inquiries made to Tata Motors Company, the crane’s manufacturer, did not yield any results as the company could not determine who had purchased the vehicle.
On the last date of hearing on August 5, the court pulled up police and warned that the police commissioner could be summoned to give an explanation in the case, after the 65-year-old mother of the deceased said the investigating officer (IO) had offered her money to “make the case go away”.
The court has now summoned the IO, ASI Shiv Kumar, to appear before it on August 17.