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Car crash panic at shop stop

A Maruti Suzuki SX4 being driven by a man who allegedly did not have a driving licence rammed into a Skoda Superb parked on Wood Street before crashing into a rear gate of a Camac Street landmark on Sunday evening.

The car, owned by Wood Street resident Nina Choudhuri, stopped after hitting a granite pillar of the gate of 22 Camac Street. Police said no one was injured.

The Camac Street address is a popular hang-out zone as it houses two prominent shopping stops and restaurants.

The car was being driven by Balaram, the son of the caretaker of 8B Wood Street, where the Choudhuris live. The police said Balaram did not have a driving licence and was absconding.

Witnesses said Balaram emerged from the ground-floor parking space of the Wood Street apartment block, opposite 22 Camac Street, at breakneck speed and dashed against the rear wheels of the Skoda Superb while turning right.

“Under the impact of the crash, the Skoda swirled almost 90 degrees. The Maruti Suzuki then smashed the iron gate between blocks A and B of 22 Camac Street and came to a halt after hitting a wall, triggering panic among shoppers. The driver immediately fled,” said a witness.

The Skoda belongs to Alipore resident Simmi Setthi, who had parked the car an hour ago before entering the Camac Street building. Her driver was not in the car when it got hit.

Nina Choudhuri’s husband Sanat said he was in the dark how Balaram got the car’s keys. The keys, he said, are kept in a box in the parking space, next to the letter boxes.

“I was about to leave for a marriage reception and asked my driver Chandan to get the car out of the building. Suddenly I heard a loud crashing sound. Chandan told me that he was in the ground-floor toilet when Balaram took the keys and started the car. As far as I know, Balaram can’t drive well,” said Choudhuri. Chandan is absconding, too.

Choudhuri later went to 22 Camac Street, where police questioned him.

A police crane was deployed to tow away the two damaged cars. But the crane was too large to enter the gate of 22 Camac Street.

Setthi’s relatives then called a private crane operator. The two cars were towed away with the help of the second crane. Setthi’s family members later lodged a complaint with Shakespeare Sarani police station. “We are looking for the man who drove the Maruti Suzuki,” said an officer.