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Boy driver and pals killed in Sikkim
Vehicle rolls down 1500ft, 4 kids die

Gangtok, Sept. 9: Four boys, apparently carrying garbage in a car to dump at a place near their hostel, died yesterday when the vehicle that was being driven by one of them rolled 1,500ft off a hilly road in West Sikkim.

Five boys, all below 18, were in the Maruti Alto yesterday morning and only one survived and has been taken to Siliguri for treatment.

He has suffered injuries on his head which police said were serious.

The four boys who died were identified by the police as 16-year-old Aditya Rai, who was driving his uncle’s car, Biswadeep Rai, also 16, Sumit Rai, 14, and Kapil Sunam, 17. They were students of Daramdin Government Secondary School in West Sikkim.

The fifth boy was Pritish Pradhan, 14, and a Class VIII student of United Academy, a private school at Daramdin.The boys who died were in Classes IX and X.

Driving a car below the age of 18 years is illegal and the owner of the car, in this case Aditya’s uncle Diwash Rai, could face punishment for this. He has been arrested and charged under bailable sections.

Although they studied in the government school, the four stayed as boarders at the hostel of United Academy, the police said. Diwash Rai, the owner of the car, is the principal of United Academy.

Kapil, Aditya and Biswadeep died on the spot while Sumit and Pritish were pulled out alive by the police and youths of Sombaria and Daramdin. Sumit died on the way to Siliguri and was brought back to Jorethang Primary health centre. Yesterday evening, the families of the four boys lodged an FIR against Diwash Rai who was questioned by the police.

“An FIR has been lodged and he has been charged with endangering human life and causing death due to negligence. As the charge is bailable, Rai was given bail. However, the investigation will be carried out,” said a senior police officer at Daramdin police station. The maximum punishment for the charge is imprisonment up to two years or a fine or both.

The United Academy principal during the interrogation said the five boys had loaded garbage in his car for dumping at a nearby garbage site. They drove off with the car without informing him, he told the police.

“The valid age for procuring a driving license is 18 years. No one can drive a vehicle before attaining 18 years. If someone is found doing so, legal action is taken against the car owner,” said state motor vehicles secretary T.T. Sherpa.

He said that a motor vehicles inspector shall visit the spot and prepare a report on the incident.