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Thursday , January 24 , 2013
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SUV falls from Swabhumi

The Mahindra Bolero after it hurtled down the slope and fell on the house near Swabhumi. Picture by Tamaghna Banerjee

Calcutta, Jan. 23: Five persons were injured, two of them grievously, when an SUV leaving a reception at Swabhumi skidded off a slope and plunged into a house in an adjoining slum, off EM Bypass.

The gravely injured are a couple — Sanjay and Sandhya Hari — on whose charpoy the Mahindra Bolero fell around 11.15pm on Wednesday.

Their three children —aged between 12 and 3 — were sleeping under the charpoy and were also injured. The two girls, one boy and their parents have been admitted to the next-door Apollo Gleneagles Hospital.

The SUV was being driven by its owner, Sujit Sharma, who was negotiating a sloping curve that leads to the exit. For some reason, the vehicle moved towards the left, instead of turning right towards the curve, tipped over and fell on the house.

Sharma was taken for a medical test. Some residents of the slum alleged that they could smell alcohol but police said only a medical examination could establish if the driver, who was leaving the reception, had consumed liquor and if it was above the permissible limit.

“The driver somehow missed the sharp turn and the car skidded past the small trees lining the boundary and the vehicle crashed on top of the shanty. We have arrested the driver,” said a senior officer of Phoolbagan police station.

Doctors said the three children were stable, but the couple’s condition was critical.

Neighbours had pulled Hari and his family out of the debris while the police took them to the hospital.

Some damaged the exit from Swabhumi, throwing stones and bricks before the authorities shut the gates and police barricaded the area.

“Last month, a gas cylinder had slipped off the slope and had fallen on a shanty in similar manner. But this time our men could have been killed. We want an apology from the banquet officials and we demand that the authorities take responsibility for the family’s treatment,” said Sanjay Halder, a resident.

At 2am, the SUV was still lying in the slum. The police were trying to arrange a large crane — a smaller one was found inadequate — to yank the vehicle out.