Man was blamed for incident involving police van; onlookers say he is innocent
Two men on a motorcycle, who were knocked down by a speeding police van on Wallajah Road on Wednesday afternoon, are battling for their lives in hospitals. While the police have blamed the rider for the incident, eye-witnesses said that the speeding police driver was responsible. Their families are struggling to meet medical expenses and claim that city police have turned a blind eye to the tragedy.
Anna Square traffic investigation has filed a case against the motorcyclist for rash driving and endangering lives, stating he rode on the wrong side of the road.
The accident took place around 1.15 p.m. on Wednesday when A. Prabhu (29), a technical engineer of Aircel at Spencer Plaza, was taking a U-turn on Wallajah Road near the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium. His friend and roommate D. Balamurugan (31) was riding pillion. “A speeding police van, carrying women constables, rammed the motorcycle and dragged it a few metres. The two men were thrown off the bike and badly injured,” said an eye-witness, who preferred not to divulge his identity.
The van was transporting personnel who were part of security arrangements for Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s visit to the Big Mosque in Triplicane on Wednesday afternoon, police sources said.
Shopkeepers on the stretch, who spoke to The Hindu, asserted that the motorcyclist was not at fault and was taking a U-turn at a permitted spot. They said that the accident was caused by the police driver, who was speeding. “The driver came the next day with a policeman from the Anna Square traffic station and threatened us with dire consequences if we revealed the truth. But, we stuck to our version that the biker was innocent, even to a senior lady officer who came for probe,” said a shop-keeper.
Meanwhile, Prabhu’s parents Arumugam and Ezhilarasi agonisingly wait in Apollo Hospital, Greams Road, where their son, who suffered severe head injuries, is undergoing a series of surgeries to save his right leg, which was badly damaged in the accident. “It is with great difficulty that we managed to obtain the Rs. 7 lakh for treatment. His colleagues and friends are collecting money to meet medical expenses. We got no support from police and instead, Prabhu was blamed for the accident,” lamented a relative outside the hospital.
Pillion rider Balamurugan was admitted to Sri Ramachandra Hospital with a punctured lung caused by rib fracture.
He too requires surgery on his leg and his family has pawned gold jewellery to meet the expenses.