Bhubaneswar, Jan. 28: Chief minister Naveen Patnaik escaped with minor injuries today after his vehicle met with an accident at Gohira Square near the city. Eight other persons were wounded in the mishap.
The injured includes six policemen who were travelling in a pilot vehicle and two civilians. The mishap took place around 3.20 pm when Patnaik, along with BJD parliamentarian Prasanna Patasani, was travelling to Jatni, around 20 km from here, to address a meeting ahead of the coming panchayat elections.
A couple of youths on a two-wheeler approached the chief minister’s convoy from the opposite direction. Seeing the vehicle speed towards them, the driver of the pilot vehicle applied the brakes and the jeep came to a screeching halt. The Innova in which Patnaik was travelling banged into the jeep from behind as its driver got little time to react, said city deputy superintendent of police Sarat Sahoo.
Meanwhile, the two-wheeler — a scooter — bumped into the pilot vehicle as well. The six policemen on board the jeep, including the driver, were rushed to Capital Hospital in the city.
The two persons riding the scooter, identified as Sambit Patnaik (28) and Debashish Swain (30), were taken to the same hospital from where they were referred to SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack.
“Swain has received severe abdominal injuries and his condition is critical. The condition of a sub-inspector is also serious and we can comment on his condition only after the scanning reports are out,” said the chief medical officer of Capital Hospital, Sugat Kar.
Sub-inspector Birupakhya Dash and constable Jajati Rout were shifted to Cuttack.
“The chief minister, who reached the hospital along with Patasani, was given first aid for the minor bruises he received. But Patasani refused to take any treatment,” said the chief medical officer.
Deputy inspector-general of police (Bhubaneswar) Y.B. Khurania said: “The others are under observation. An investigation is on to find if the incident was intentional or accidental. Family members of the injured have been informed.”
The mishap forced the organisers to postpone the meeting at Benapanjari near Jatni. The chief minister arrived at the hospital in the vehicle of Jatni MLA Sarat Paikray as his car had been damaged.
Claiming he was “all right except for a couple of bruises”, the chief minister said: “I went to Capital Hospital to see the injured and to ensure that the best possible medical care is imparted to all of them.”
Patasani, on the other hand, owed his “escape” to divine intervention. “It was a miraculous escape for all of us, thanks to Lord Jagannath’s blessings,” the MP said.