BENGALURU: A group of seven friends, including the son of a Tamil Nadu MLA, who were out on a jolly ride, were killed after their speeding SUV crashed into a building at Koramangala in Bengaluru early on Tuesday morning.
Karuna Sagar (25), the only son of Hosur DMK MLA Prakash Y, had come to Bengaluru on his Audi Q3 with the Karnataka registration number and picked up his friends. They had cooked up stories to convince their parents and had gone out.
The high-speed crash occurred around 1.45 am on 80 ft Road near Mangala Convention Hall at Koramangala. Bindu, (28), Ishitha Biswas, (21), Dr Dhanusha M, (29), Akshay Goyal, (25), Utsav (25) and Rohith (23) were the others killed in the horrific accident. The police said they have reasons to believe that it was a case of driving under the influence of alcohol, but are waiting for medical reports.
“The CCTV footage seems to suggest that it was a case of drunk driving as the driver was not under control,” a senior police officer said. The hair samples too have been sent for tests as the police suspect that the deceased could have consumed drugs, sources in the police department said.
Curiously, the airbags in the high-end SUV did not deploy, which the police and RTO experts attributed to none of the deceased wearing seat belts and the vehicle being overcrowded.
‘Clear case of negligent driving’
BR Ravikanthe Gowda, Joint Commissioner of Police (traffic), told The New Indian Express, “It is a clear case of reckless and negligent driving. Preliminary investigations revealed that Sagar was driving the car. An autorickshaw driver, who was near the spot at the time of accident, alerted the police. Based on his statement, a case has been registered at the Adugodi traffic police station”.
Sagar, who lived at Denkanikottai in Tamil Nadu, had told his father that he was going to Bengaluru to buy some diet medicines. His mother Shivamma died just four months ago due to post-Covid complications.
The SUV was heading from NGV Junction towards Forum Mall when the accident occurred, the police said. The vehicle ran over the footpath and crashed into the bollards before ramming into Punjab National Bank building. “The impact was so high that pieces of debris and parts of the car flew high in the air. The police had to use a crane to extricate the vehicle and pull out the bodies, which were taken to St John’s Hospital,” a police officer said.
A case under Sections 279 (rash driving or riding on a public way) and 304A (causing death by negligence) of the IPC has been registered. The case is being investigated by an officer of the rank of an assistant commissioner of police. Assessing the CCTV footage, another police officer said that the SUV could be moving at speeds of around 180 kmph when it crashed.
Imran, an eyewitness, said, “Three men were sitting in the front, while four were in the backseat. I rushed to help and found that one was still breathing. We tried to move him to a hospital. But he died on the way.”
How The Horror Unfolded
Around 10 pm, Monday: Karuna Sagar picks up friends from PGs in Koramangala, two female friends join in
Till 1.30 am: Group drives around the city
Around 1.30 am, Tuesday: Stopped by Adugodi police at a check point and warned as two women were cheering through sunroof
Around 1.50 am: Car moves towards Forum Mall from NGV junction, overspeeding vehicle knocks down bollards on footpath, crashes into bank building.
Loud bang is heard: Panicked residents rush out assuming it to be a transformer blast
Passersby help police extricate bodies stuck in the car, shift them to St John’s hospital for autopsy
Police officials conduct mahazar, car lifted using using a crane
Samples sent to forensic lab to check for traces of alcohol, drugs