The mangled remains of the Swift in which Saibal Banerjee (below), Rohan Sengupta and Gairik Som Basu left a Park Street nightclub around 1.15am on Tuesday. The car was hit by an unidentified heavy vehicle near Eden Gardens 10 minutes later, killing all three youths. Pictures by Pradip Sanyal
A late-night joyride from a disco ended in tragedy for a group of friends when one of their cars crashed into another vehicle, killing two of them instantly and a third soon after.
Rohan Sengupta and Saibal Banerjee, both 26, and Gairik Som Basu, 21, were the three victims in the accident that occurred near Eden Gardens around 1.25am on Tuesday.
The trio were in a black Maruti Swift with Rohan at the wheel, followed by three other friends in a Honda City. The six of them had stepped out of Tantra, on Park Street, barely 10 minutes earlier and decided to go for a spin before heading home.
Police haven’t identified the vehicle the Swift collided with but the mangled remains of the car suggested that a speeding lorry had rammed into its left side.
Rohan was possibly speeding, though it isn’t known whether the accident was the result of rash driving under the influence of alcohol.
“He had revved up his Swift and zoomed off towards Babughat before his friend Akash Sarkar, 21, could steer his Honda City out of Park Street. When the accident occurred, Rohan’s car was at least 500 metres ahead,” the police quoted a friend as saying.
Saibal, who used to serve at the bar of KK’s Fusion in Swabhumi, and management student Gairik were at the back.
The other friends — Chirag Malhotra and Ritwik Mitra, both 21 — were in Akash’s car.
The boys in the Honda City came to know about the accident when a critically injured Rohan called Ritwik on his cellphone. “I received the call around 1.30am. He wasn’t able to speak properly. The only word I could make out was ‘accident’,” recalled Ritwik.
By the time Ritwik, Akash and Chirag — childhood friends of Gairik and batchmates at BP Poddar Institute of Management and Technology — reached the accident spot, only Rohan was alive.
“We presumed Saibal and Gairik were dead because they weren’t moving. Rohan was gasping for breath,” Ritwik told Metro.
There wasn’t a vehicle or a policeman in sight, and the three friends struggled to extricate Rohan and the other two from the smashed Swift. It was around 1.50am when they reached SSKM Hospital.
Saibal and Gairik were declared brought dead and Rohan was admitted to the intensive care unit with injuries in the head, torso and legs.
At 2.30am, the friends arranged for an ambulance and shifted Rohan to AMRI Hospitals in Dhakuria. He died around 3am.
“It is difficult to ascertain what happened since we have no witnesses, but it appears that the car was hit by a heavy vehicle, probably a lorry. A case of motor collision has been lodged and the fatal squad of the traffic police is on the job,” said Dilip Banerjee, the deputy commissioner of police (traffic).
Saibal, who would usually return to his Ballygunge Place residence around 1.30am, had called his mother at 1.20am to say he would be home in 30 minutes.
“I can’t believe he died such a horrible death minutes after speaking to me. He was my only child, my only reason to live,” wailed mother Kamala Banerjee, 50, a widow.
Gairik’s father Biplab Basu, an employee of a shipping company, was in Bangkok when the accident occurred. He returned on Tuesday afternoon for his only son’s cremation. A relative said the boy’s mother, Sipra, hadn’t uttered a word since hearing about the tragedy.
“The pain of losing the youngest member of the family is unbearable,” said Bhaswati Chakravorty, Gairik’s aunt, at the family’s residence in Dhakuria.
Rohan’s father Dipak Sengupta, a former company executive, could barely utter a few words. “I don’t know what to say. I am overwhelmed by grief.” Sengupta had lost Rohan’s mother earlier.
The retired management professional had called his elder son, who works abroad, to inform him about the accident before leaving his Patuli apartment for AMRI Hospitals at 3.15am. “But it was all over by the time I reached,” Sengupta said.
Ritwik’s father Manan Mitra, a senior company executive, was relieved to see his son alive but said he didn’t approve of his late-night partying. “This generation tends to overdo things,” he rued.
Akash said the night out at the disco was to celebrate a job offer that Saibal had got.
Pradip Rozario, the proprietor of KK’s Fusion, said Saibal hadn’t reported for work since February 13. “He had shown a lot of promise at work. We are very upset about the tragedy,” he added.