A 67-YEAR-OLD doctor known for organising chess tournaments and training sessions for cricket umpires died after a tempo hit the bike he was riding and went over him at the Mulund stretch of the Eastern Express Highway on Thursday night. Dr Prakash Vaze, chairman of the Vaze Sports Foundation in Mulund, died in the accident and his compounder, Hanumant Hegde (47), who was riding pillion, suffered injuries to his hand.
It is suspected that bad condition of the road near the Anand Nagar Octroi junction led to the accident. Navghar police in Mulund have registered an FIR and arrested the tempo driver. According to the police, the incident took place around 2.40 am, when Vaze and Hegde were returning to their Mulund houses from Thane on the bike. They had gone to Thane for collecting trophies for a chess tournament.
Senior Inspector, Navghar police, Madhav More, said near the Octroi junction in Mulund east, the bike was hit by a tempo driven by Neelkanth Chavan (48), who was returning to his Ghatkopar residence from Bhiwandi with goods.
“Hegde in his statement told us that the bike was hit from the rear and as a result, it started wobbling and eventually, fell on the road. He said Vaze was run over by same tempo,” More said. Hegde is currently admitted to the Hira Mongi Navneet Hospital and undergoing treatment.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 7), Akhilesh Singh, said the road on that particular stretch was uneven because of which the vehicle lost balance. Vaze’s colleague and chess umpire Dr Deepak Tandel said: “Hegde said Vaze had tried to avoid an even stretch in the area. The vehicle slipped on the road and a tempo came from behind and hit them.”
Soon after the incident, Navghar police arrested Chavan on charges of causing death due to negligence, rash and negligent driving and causing hurt. According to Vaze’s colleagues, he had been giving free coaching to children for cricket umpiring for several years now, apart from conducting chess tournaments and coaching classes. He practiced as a BAMS doctor in Mulund near his house.
“He was a bowler during the university days. Later, he started umpiring and also coached several people for free,” said his friend Rajendra Bandekar, who also worked with the doctor at the Vaze Sports Foundation. Vaze had been the umpire for the Kanga Cricket League in Mumbai. “I have known him for 15 years. His passion for sports was absolute,” Bandekar said. Vaze is survived by his wife. Their only daughter passed away a few years ago, friends said. On Friday, Vaze’s brother took his body to Rajawadi hospital for post-mortem.
“His wife is in shock. Right now, we are not in a state of mind to even blame the municipal corporation for the pothole or anyone for the accident,” Bandekar said. Vaze’s funeral was conducted in Mulund on Friday night.
According to a forensic doctor who conducted the autopsy at Rajawadi hospital, Vaze suffered several blunt trauma injuries on the head and chest. “The tempo tyre seems to have moved over his chest. That caused the death on the spot,” the doctor said.