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Pranab hurt in collision

Nadia, April 7: External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee was injured and needed 15 stitches on his head after a lorry collided with his car in Nadia tonight.

Loaded with stone chips, the lorry swerved out of control after a tyre puncture and overturned on the car under the impact of the collision.

Doctors said the 72-year-old Mukherjee is critical but stable. “He did not lose consciousness,” said Partha Pratim Saha, a doctor at a block hospital where Mukherjee was first admitted. He was taken there in a rickshaw.

Saha said one wound runs from the skull to the neckline but there is no big injury in the forehead.

The accident occurred at Bethuadahari, 130 km from Calcutta, while the minister was on his way back to Calcutta from Murshidabad where he had gone to inaugurate a book fair.

Congress leader Manas Bhuniya and Mukherjee’s political secretary Pradyut Guha were with the minister in the car. Bhuniya helped security personnel ease Mukherjee out of the car.

Realising that Mukherjee had suffered head injuries, the security squad rushed him to the block medical hospital, from where he was shifted to Shaktinagar hospital at Krishnagar.

Late tonight, the doctors were considering whether surgery is needed.

“A medical team headed by a neurosurgeon is leaving for Krishnagar now. We have made arrangements at Bangur Institute of Neurology. I have also informed the army. If it is not possible to bring him by car, a helicopter will be sent to bring him to Calcutta tomorrow,” home secretary Prasad Ranjan Ray said tonight.

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