At least 34 persons, including six schoolchildren, were injured when a van conducting unauthorised stage carriage operations hit an electric post and toppled over near Kattayikonam on Tuesday.

Deputy Superintendent of Police, Attingal, Prasanthan Kani, said the accident occurred when the driver, suspecting his vehicle was being tailed by a Motor Vehicle Department's inspection squad, sped to avoid being intercepted.

At around 1.45 p.m., the driver had taken the passengers on board his van from Pothencode junction.

Warning

Quoting passengers, the police said the driver received a telephone call that an MVD squad was checking the permits of vehicles conducting stage carriage services in the locality.

In order to avoid being fined, the driver took another route. At one point, he thought an MVD vehicle was behind him. According to the police, the driver, when his speeding vehicle reached the dip of steep decline on the road, swerved the van hard to the right to slip unnoticed into a by-lane. The van lost control, rammed an electric post, and overturned.

The victims were rushed to nearby hospitals. Some of them, including two children, have sustained serious injuries. Local people blocked the road accusing the MVD of causing the accident. The police said they were yet to arrest the driver. They have booked the owner of the vehicle on the charge of operating stage carriage services illegally.