Kalvakuntla Krishna Milan Rao, the 27-year-old CEO of a Hyderabad-based gaming company who is accused of negligent driving that killed a 55-year-old woman, will not be arrested by the Cyberabad police till January 3, Telangana High Court said Thursday.
The CEO of Empower Labs Private Limited came under criticism after his red Volkswagen GT crashed down a newly constructed flyover at the Biodiversity circle in Hyderabad, leading to the death of P Satyaveni and injuring three others.
Though police claimed he was driving at a speed of 105 kmph against a permissible speed of 40 kmph, which according to them led to the accident, Milan had blamed the allegedly faulty design of the flyover for the crash.
Though the airbags saved him in the 60-feet fall, he was admitted into a private hospital with, according to the medical bulletin, scalpel laceration (blunt injury on the head), multiple abrasions and right clavicular fracture (bone between shoulder and breastbone).
The flyover has been shut ever since the accident.
This was the second accident on the flyover in two weeks. The 990-meter one-way flyover begins at the DivyaSree Orion SEZ and ends after the Biodiversity Junction, heading towards IKEA. Inaugurated by Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister KT Rama Rao on November 4, the flyover was constructed at a cost of Rs 69.47 crore under the government’s ambitious Strategic Road Development Programme (SRDP).
While Milan was preparing for his discharge from hospital, Raidurgam police of Cyberabad altered the case from rash and negligent driving causing death to a stronger charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. A petition was then filed at the High Court, which first granted a stay on arrest till December 12.
On Thursday, December 12, the government pleader (GP) for Home, pleaded before the HC seeking more time to file a counter and also argued the case justifying altering the sections of law. The case was posted for January 2, 2020, and the Court said Milan could not be arrested till January 3.
He was discharged from the hospital on December 8. Meanwhile, the government had ordered a four-member independent committee to examine and assess the flyover design.
Milan’s lawyer, A Prabhakar Rao, has told the High Court that Milan was driving at a speed of 45-50 kmph. He has also alleged that police have ‘unnecessarily’ complicated the case by altering sections. Till you reach the top of the flyover you do not know where the curve is. He was driving the first time on the flyover and suddenly curve came and he could not control the vehicle. There is a fault in the design. It is a case of rash and negligent driving and police want to charge it with culpable homicide not amounting to murder,” Rao told indianexpress.com
According to him, the length of the flyover has to be extended so that one could identify the curve. “There is no case at all here. There is no application of IPC 304(ii). One should have knowledge about the hit that one is going to make and the ordinary course of nature should result in death. That is not the case here. His car fell down. He does not know where it lands after falling or if people were standing there,” added the advocate, who argued that the government wanted to blame the driver to cover up the fault in the design of the flyover.
According to the station house officer, Raidurgam police, S Ravinder, cameras have very clearly detected the number plate and speed of the car, which according to him was travelling at 105.8 kmph.
On why was the case sections altered at a later date, he said that a case was initially registered on charges of rash and negligent driving basing on a complaint and prima facie reports. “Section 304A IPC was bailable. After collection of more scientific and technical evidence, we have altered the case on December 3 to IPC 304 (ii) charging with culpable homicide not amounting to murder as the gravity of the issue increased,” he told indianexpress.com.
The police are very clear that the driver lost control of the vehicle because he had not followed the rules regarding permissible speed. “A responsible driver should be aware of the consequences of his negligent act on the road which could endanger the life of others,” he added.
The police have also collected the blood samples of the accused and sent them for a forensic examination to find out if he was under the influence of alcohol or any substance.
Nothing wrong with the flyover, says GHMC
The superintendent engineer in-charge of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation’s project wing, Venkata Ramana, terms allegations of the faulty design of flyover leading to the accident as baseless.
“There is no issue with the flyover. You have to respect the facility and the facility will respect you. You have to follow the protocol. The signboards are there suggesting the permissible speed of 40kmph. Once the flyover is opened, you can drive at 40kmph and know for yourself,” he told indianexpress.com
According to him, the report on inspection to assess and examine the flyover design will be ready in a day or two. “Only after the report is submitted, and after attending to additional remedies they suggest would the flyover be opened,” he added.
On certain allegations of a delay in completion of the construction of flyover by a few months, he attributed the same to matters relating to land acquisition. “How can you say there was a delay? There is a sequence for construction that has to be followed. Unless you go through each day’s work, you cannot comment on any delay,” he stated.
Very few understand the dynamics of road safety, says expert
Prof KM Lakshman Rao, head of the civil engineering department at the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad, said the dynamics of road safety should be looked at with an objective that no person should die on the road. Rao who has headed several government programmes in the past has come down heavily on the design of the flyover, even alleging that officials did a hasty job to reduce the expenditure.
“The flyover in itself does not carry any meaning and meaningfulness, both static and dynamically it is not fitting. In engineering, for any construction, you keep factor of safety (FOS). If the vehicle was travelling at 40 kmph, the FOS should be 120 kmph if FOS is three times. In foreign countries, the FOS on flyovers is kept for 220 kmph,” he told indianexpress.com.
Further, he said, “They could not identify the starting and ending point. Our people have reduced the length of the flyover to reduce construction costs.” According to him, for a permissible speed of 40kmph, there require several imaginary surfaces. “All the imaginary surfaces which create an impact on the driver are not tracked there. The centrifugal force definitely affects when one goes higher and the radius is not cooperative. When there is a transition from straight road to curve, vehicles will go along the curve. If the curve is wrong, it will cause accidents,” he pointed out.
While noting that the current physical alert systems like rumble strips do not work for high-end cars, he said it is time governments adopted psychological alert systems which use artificial intelligence and computer vision-based interface which will take image of the vehicle and measure its speed, mobility, manoeuvrability, and immediately give a display on an LED wall that the vehicle is overspeeding.