Out on a joyride in a Maruti Alto, five reckless — and drunk — boys of a reputed south Calcutta school rammed the car into three girls, first-year arts students of Basanti Devi College, near Nazrul Mancha on Wednesday afternoon.
The girls were on their way home from Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Gol Park. The speeding red Alto rode onto the pavement near a Mother Dairy booth on Southern Avenue and hit them head-on.
“I spotted the speeding car from a distance after it had almost hit an elderly woman in front of the Mission. But instead of slowing down, it sped on and suddenly veered to the left, jumping on to the pavement and hitting the girls,” recounted the man in the Mother Dairy booth.
The car screeched to a halt after knocking down the girls, who were immediately rushed to AMRI Hospitals by some bystanders.
One of the girls, Deblina Roy, sustained multiple fractures and had to be immediately shifted to the operating theatre. The other two victims — Sudeshna Sarkar and Soma Chandra — suffered head and back injuries.
All of them were reported to be in a stable condition till late on Wednesday.
“The girls did not lodge a complaint, but we have started a suo motu case and booked Utsav Dutta, who was at the wheel, for drunken driving,” said Ajay Kumar, deputy commissioner of police (south).
Utsav, a Class XI student of commerce, got off the car after the accident and slipped into the crowd, while bystanders grabbed his four friends and handed them over to police.
Though police let off the other four boys, Utsav, son of a bank officer, was later picked up from his Manoharpukur Road residence and arrested.
“Utsav lives with his mother. His father is posted in Barasat. He was driving his father’s car… Though he is a minor, we found a driving licence on him and we are inquiring how he managed to get hold of it,” added Kumar.
During interrogation, Utsav admitted that the speedometer read 70 kph when the car hit the girls. He also said he did not go to school on Wednesday as the afternoon drinking session was planned in advance. Though his friends attended classes in the morning, they came out for the afternoon get-together in Dhakuria.
“Prima facie, all the five boys were drunk. They had a party at a friend’s place in Dhakuria before venturing out for the joyride. We have conducted a test on Utsav to ascertain the alcohol content in his blood stream,” said Sukumar Chakraborty, officer-in-charge, Lake police station.
After getting the report, police will produce Utsav at Alipore court on Thursday.
Though some eyewitnesses complained to police that the boys were teasing the girls before ramming into them, the cops have, for the time being, ruled out the eve-teasing angle.
“It is a plain and simple accident due to drunken driving… Besides, two of the girls have given written statements saying there was no eve-teasing involved,” said officer-in-charge Chakraborty.