FORMER MLC Vinayak Mete, 59, who was on his way to Mumbai from Beed to meet Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde to discuss issues concerning the Maratha community died in a road accident on the Mumbai-Pune expressway on Sunday morning.
The accident took place at around 5 am near Madap tunnel close to Khalapur toll plaza. Mete’s SUV was in the second of the six-lane expressway at the time of the accident. According to Eknath Kadam, who was accompanying Mete, the driver lost control of the car after a truck changed lanes.
The left side of the car reportedly hit the truck. The impact was such that the entire left side of the vehicle was damaged. Kadam suffered minor injuries in the incident while Mete’s police bodyguard was seriously injured.
A doctor who checked on Mete at the MGM Hospital near Panvel told the media that the leader had died before he was brought to the hospital. The doctor said that Mete was brought in at 6.20 am and that he had no pulse or blood pressure, and his pupils were not moving.
Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde and deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis reached the MGM Hospital in Kamothe on Sunday morning.
Express photo/Narendra Vaskar
A police official said that rescuers had to cut open a part of the SUV to pull out the injured policeman. Talking to reporters, Kadam claimed that he tried to call for medical help but had to wait for an hour. The highway police, however, denied the claim and said the police arrived at the spot within seven minutes of receiving the information.
An official however said that the state Highway Police mentioned in a report that they received a call about an accident at 5.58 am, following which police personnel from the Palaspe outpost rushed to the spot at 6.05 am.
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has ordered an inquiry amid allegations that medical aid did not reach Mete for over an hour after the accident. Mete is survived by his wife, a son, and a daughter.
Senior politicians, including the CM, Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, Sharad Pawar, and Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Ajit Pawar, visited the MGM hospital Panvel where Mete was taken.
शिवसंग्राम संघटनेचे अध्यक्ष विनायक मेटे यांच्या अपघाती निधनाचे वृत्त अत्यंत धक्कादायक आहे. त्यांचे सामाजिक कार्य तसेच उपेक्षित समाज घटकांच्या विकासातील योगदान मोठे आहे. दिवंगत श्री मेटे यांना भावपूर्ण श्रद्धांजली 🙏🙏 pic.twitter.com/TyjgVsQrqn
— Governor of Maharashtra (@maha_governor) August 14, 2022
Maharashtra minister and former state BJP president Chandrakant Patil said the death was shocking. “He was genuinely following up on the issue of Maratha reservation. It is a huge loss for us and the Maratha community,” Patil said.
Congress leader and former chairman of a Maharashtra sub-committee on Maratha reservation Ashok Chavan said, “It is unfortunate to lose a leader like Mete. Despite us being in different political parties, Mete and I were almost on the same page over the issue of Maratha reservation in the state.”
Sharad Pawar expressed grief over the Maratha leader’s death while Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray issued a statement mourning Mete.