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Fatal drive back home after anniversary lunch

New Town crash kills two

The mangled Santro after it rammed into a bus

Calcutta, April 19: An Exide executive driving back home after an anniversary lunch lost his wife and father when their car rammed into a bus on New Town’s main arterial road, turning a “double celebration” into a double tragedy.

Ayan Basu’s 15-year-old son Sayan suffered multiple injuries and underwent an operation for hip dislocation and a fractured arm.

The Class X student also suffered injuries in his right ankle, ribs and face.

Ayan, who has suffered serious injuries in both arms and a deep cut in the tongue, was unconscious till late this evening.

It wasn’t immediately clear what led to the accident, but police sources said Ayan, an executive in the marketing wing of Exide Industries Limited, may have committed a mistake common among not-so regular drivers — pressing the accelerator instead of the brake in panic.

“The red car took a U-turn from the signal but suddenly picked up speed and rammed into the back of the bus,” said Keshab Biswas, a tea stall owner who saw the accident.

A piece of glass from the broken windscreen pierced the forehead of Suparna, Ayan’s 45-year-old homemaker wife who sat beside him in the front seat. She died on the spot.

So did Ayan’s father Pranab Basu, 67, who was in the back seat with his grandson. The retired SAIL official apparently suffered an internal haemorrhage.

Friends of the Basus said the family had gone out for a “double celebration” this afternoon.

“It was their (Ayan’s and Suparna’s) 16th marriage anniversary. The couple were also celebrating Sayan’s good academic performance,” said a family friend.

The Basus had just driven out of City Centre II in their Hyundai Santro and taken a U-turn on their way to Baguiati when the bus came in the way, the police said.

“Had Ayan Basu pressed the emergency brake, there would have been tyre marks on the road. But there was none. We suspect he pressed the accelerator instead,” said a police officer, suggesting the possibility of a “mistake” on the part of the Exide official.

(Above) Ayan and Suparna Basu. While Suparna died at the spot, her husband was unconscious in a private hospital till late in the night. (Right) The couple’s 15-year-old son Sayan. A hip surgery has been done on him. Pictures by Sanjay Chattopadhyaya

Most cars, instead of taking a U-turn through the signal, cut through the one-way traffic horizontally to reach the other flank through a gap in the median divider almost opposite to City Centre II. The Santro, however, was following the traffic rules.

The bus — a private vehicle on route number 46B — was also at no apparent fault, the police sources said, adding that a separate lane for the bus could have averted the accident.

“We are planning a bus-bay on the spot and would take all necessary steps,” said the additional deputy commissioner, Bidhannagar police, Santosh Nimbalkar.

Although speed wasn’t to blame for this afternoon’s accident, motorists are known to press the accelerator on this arterial stretch as Calcuttans, frustrated by the clutch-brake traffic in the city, satiate their pent-up thirst for speed on the road that connects Salt Lake with VIP Road.

Sayan and his father were this evening shifted to Belle Vue nursing home from Charnock Hospital.

Sayan, a student of Class X in The Assembly of God Church School, Park Street, had ranked second in the Class IX annual examination.

He is supposed to get a prize at an annual school programme on Friday.

“In the new session (which began on April 4), he has been chosen the class prefect. He is very responsible, helpful and cooperative,” said Victor Singh, the principal, who added that Sayan has been studying in the school for the past three years.

The Basus, who are from Jamshedpur, had shifted to their 1,200sqft, three-bedroom flat in Raghunathpur along VIP Road in 2005.

Next-door neighbour Smritikana Mallick recalled Suparna as “a sweet and shy” woman.

“She left the keys to her apartment with me before leaving this afternoon so that their help could do the cleaning while the family was out. She would usually keep to herself,” Smritikana said, wondering what to do with the keys.