Precursor to Jaguar’s lethal signal leap
Arsalan Parwez had jumped the lights at least once before a repeat act at the Theatre Road-Loudon Street crossing led to a collision that killed two people in the early hours of Saturday, police sources claimed on Sunday.
Officers said CCTV images had revealed that the Jaguar F-PACE being driven by the 21-year-old scion of the Arsalan biryani chain had swerved into Russell Street from Park Street minutes before the 1.50am crash. It turned right after reaching Middleton Street and headed towards Jawaharlal Nehru Road.
Arsalan, who the police said was the lone occupant, ignored a red light in front of the SBI e-corner and turned left before turning left again to enter Theatre Road, officers said. (See map in Metro)
“He jumped the lights again at the Loudon Street intersection before crashing into the Mercedes,” said a traffic police officer.
Contacted by this newspaper for comment, Aritra Bhattacharya, one of Arsalan’s lawyers, said: “If Arsalan’s car had jumped the lights on Saturday, where was the night patrol? Why didn’t the police intercept the car instead of allowing it to move on till it crashed?”
The collision sent the Mercedes E 220d hurtling into two Bangladeshi visitors waiting near a police kiosk and killing them on the spot. The occupants of the Mercedes are in hospital.
Arsalan was produced before a metropolitan magistrate at Bankshall Court on Sunday and remanded in police custody till August 29.
Officers said Lalbazar traffic records for the period November 2018 to July 2019 showed the Jaguar had jumped the lights at least once and been caught speeding more than 40 times. Arsalan, an MBA from Edinburgh, had returned to Calcutta sometime last year.
“Some 48 cases are pending against the Jaguar from this period, one for jumping lights and the rest for speeding,” an officer said.
Preliminary forensic investigations suggest Arsalan was driving at a very high speed, which caused the Mercedes to hit the police kiosk after the crash, a member of the forensic team said.
“If the collision had happened at a lower speed, the two vehicles would have come to a halt at an angle to each other,” he said.
He said the “degree of deformation” of the Merc “suggests the intensity of the impact owing to speed”.
Members of the forensic team said they would try and retrieve the “event data recorder” of the Jaguar and read the impressions stored in its “electronic control module” to ascertain the last clocked speed and other key information.
At Bankshall Court, public prosecutor Avijit Chattopadhyay said the Mercedes had been “dragged for 20 feet” before it hit the police kiosk.
Arsalan’s family and friends said he almost always went out in the Jaguar and enjoyed driving it himself, but never drove at high speed. “This wasn’t the first time he was out in his car. You can ask his friends — he was very cautious at the wheel,” a relative, Mohammed Mustafa, said.
Officers have learnt that Arsalan had left his Beckbagan home around 11pm on Friday and was “criss-crossing the city”.
“He drove down EM Bypass and stretches along eastern Calcutta before arriving at Park Street,” a police source said.
Arsalan had earlier gone out in the same car in the afternoon and returned home by evening, he added.
The Jaguar was registered on April 13, 2017, officers said.