GURUGRAM: A 31-year-old man riding his bike fell earlier this week into a 20-foot water-filled pit dug up for a U-turn underpass that is being built along the border on the Gurugram-Delhi expressway and succumbed to his injuries on Friday night. A police case has been filed against the private contractor who the NHAI has awarded the project to.
The accident happened near Radisson Hotel on the Sirhaul border on January 4 when Sanjeev Sethi was returning home to Sonia Vihar in Delhi around 10pm. Police are scanning CCTV footage to ascertain how the accident took place. It appears Sethi had driven close to the edge of the pit and his bike skid into it. He was rescued by passersby and rushed to hospital.
The underpass is being constructed in the middle of the two carriageways of the expressway. Although the contractor engaged by NHAI had placed cement barricades along the pit, there was enough gap for even an autorickshaw to pass through. Sources said as it had rained heavily on January 4, water from the Aravalis and adjoining areas had gushed down and collected inside the pit, which was almost filled to the surface.
Biker death: Victim’s kin blame contractor
The soil near its edge had become loose too and the walls of the pit had caved in, bringing it dangerously close to the road.
Sanjeev’s brother Manoj said the 31-year-old would take the expressway to the city every day and returned home late. “He may have veered too close to the pit, which was filled with rain water, and fell 20 feet into it. Passers-by took him to a nearby private hospital. A few hours later, he was identified from a photo ID that was in his pocket,” Manoj said.
Sanjeev, who was shifted to Safdarjung Hospital after his condition deteriorated, was placed on ventilator support. He died during treatment on Friday night. Manoj has lodged a complaint at Udyog Vihar police station against the NHAI contractor. The private contractor, who is yet to be identified, has been booked under IPC Sections 283 (danger and obstruction in public way), 304A (culpable homicide) and 427 (causing damage).
It was only after the accident was reported that police put up cloth and tapes between the cement barricades to prevent commuters from straying too close to the edge. Inspector Satbir Singh, the station house officer of Udyog Vihar police station, said they were scanning CCTV footage to find how Sanjeev fell into the pit. “Appropriate action will be taken against the officials concerned after a thorough investigation. We will also record the statement of the contractor,” said Singh.
Sanjeev’s body was handed over to his family after an autopsy on Friday night. Manoj alleged negligence on the part of the NHAI contractor. “Only the contractor is responsible for the death of my brother. They had not made proper arrangements to ensure the safety of commuters. Had the area been properly barricaded, the accident would not have happened in the first place,” he said.
Vikas Mittal, the NHAI project manager, said he was unaware of the accident as the contractor had not informed any of them. “We’ll inspect the area and appropriate action will be taken against him if there is any negligence on his part,” he said.