The tragic death of a 25-year-old medical student in her final year of college, caused by an unfortunate road
But much like this busy route, on which some potholes were repaired recently, a lot more lay under the surface of this incident — an alternative truth that was uncovered only after a detective from local police revisited the location and realised the story needed some deeper digging into than his colleagues had already done.
The victim of the accident, Ekta Prabhakar Kothawade, was a last-year student of a Masters in Medicine (MD) course from Tilak Ayurved Mahavidyalaya in Rasta Peth. Hailing from Dharangaon in Jalgaon, she had studied a Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine, and Surgery (BAMS) in Nashik before moving here, and was living in the city at a rented flat in Shaniwar Peth for the last two years. Her father is agriculturist, and they also have a medical shop in Dharangaon.
On Monday, Ekta had gone to Katraj for some research paper-related work. A tempo was travelling in the same direction as her two-wheeler towards Swargate, and when she lost balance and fell on the road, her helmet came off as it was unhooked. The heavy vehicle ran over her head, causing instant death — the bloodshed prodded shocked bystanders to immediately inform the police.
It was assumed prima facie by cops that she was killed by the tempo hitting her. Thereafter, Bharati Vidyapeeth police had also lodged a first information report (FIR) against tempo driver Mangesh Ghosalkar (46), and arrested him under section 279 (rash driving), 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 304A (causing death by negligence) of the
But the ‘accident’ unexpected disturbed police sub inspector (PSI) Mahendra Patil, attached with the detection branch of Bharati Vidyapeeth police station. The gut-wrenching death of a girl from a small town, who was months away from becoming a full-fledged doctor in the big city, had touched him. It, propelled him to visit the spot of the accident, and carefully study the panchnama, observing something that nobody else had seen at the crime scene — that the real murderer was a pothole.
Closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera footage from a nearby store finally told the whole story. Speaking to Mirror, Patil said, “The Katraj-Swargate route is a prime thoroughfare, considering the flow of traffic it sees. Due to the heavy rains this year, several potholes had formed here, and it was evident that these may lead to a major accident on day. Interestingly, the contractor had even ensured that most of the potholes are filled earlier in November — but this one was skipped. It is the contractor’s duty to repair any and all potholes dangerous for commuters. What happened indicates negligence, which is why the girl, who was to become a healer, lost her life.”
According to establishments around the spot, the ditch in the road has been there for a long time, and was surprisingly one of those that were ignored even when other trenches on the route were recently fixed.
Patil informed that a report on this revelation has been sent to PMC, asking for information about the contractor. He added, “We will be booking the contractor under Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 304 (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) for the neglect that led to this death.”
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