Uber driver's over-speeding kills passenger; misery continues as touts offer help recovering insurance from lapsed policy
This story you are about to read is one full of misery, apathy, and shamelessness. By the time you finish it, there are chances your heart will reach out for the Shaikhs, a family from Mumbra, a suburb nearly 40 kilometers away from Mumbai.
Tanzila Shaikh, Muzammil's wife, has been killed in an accident involving the Uber cab she was travelling in, leaving behind her school-going son. The boy is yet to be informed that his 35- year- old mother is never to return.
An engineer by profession, Tanzila was employed with Wipro, while her husband worked with Capgemini.
They were about to shop for Eid. Tanzila was to call back in an hour and appraise Muzammil of the shopping plan. Everything seemed normal on that day.
But an hour later, the family lost her.
The Mid-Day reported Muzammil as saying, "My son still dials his mother's number hoping she will pick it up. We have not told him yet that she is no more."
Cab hailing app Uber's role is central to Tanzila's demise. The 35- year old BTech graduate on an unfortunate day, clicked a cab to travel from Goregaon, another suburb in Mumbai. Inderjeet Singh Bhatti, the Uber driver promptly arrives. But Tanzila instead of uniting with her husband and son, ends up at a hospital.
Traffic cameras installed by the Mumbai traffic department capture Bhatti overspeeding, at speeds of over 100 kmph. And within a few minutes, Bhatti's car, which from photographs made available by Mid-Day looks like a Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire, is crumpled in an accident. Tanzila, seated behind the driver according to Bhatti, is left dead owing to the impact. Bhatti escapes this accident, unharmed.
The driver credits his miraculous escape from the accident to wearing seat-belts. More misery
Muzammil is informed during the postmortem that some foreign object pierced his wife's brain during the accident that resulted in her instant death. The impact of this accident was so severe that her eyes got sunk into its sockets.
Bhatti not only has an escape from the accident but is released on a bail of Rs 15000. He is quoted as saying that it was his first ever accident in three decades of driving. But a surprised Muzammil questions why Mumbai Police did not slap stringent provisions of the IPC and Motor Vehicles act upon this driver. The Mid-Day report further quotes the grieving husband saying this driver was involved previously in rash driving. In fact, twice in April this year itself.
Bhatti further rationalis es in his admission that Uber's cars are installed with speed governors which restrict higher speed. And therefore he refutes the allegations of overspeeding.
If watching the driver walk free on bail was not sufficient, Muzammil learns that Uber has debited the amount for the original ride from his wife's Paytm account. This for a ride that was never completed and instead ended up in the hospital.
It was only Muzammil's questioning that reminded Uber to credit Rs 568.10 back to Tanzila's Paytm account. An official from Uber was quoted saying, "the driver partner's access to the app has been discontinued." "We continue to stand ready to extend support to the police investigation in every way possible," the official added .
Then came the next blow. Even as Muzammil prepared himself to brave the odds post the unfortunate e moment, a call from the Police Station arrived . The caller offered customary condolences, but also brought up the talk of third-party insurance claims. This caller also offered to help Muzammil with an agent who could help him claim third party compensation for surviving members of the family. The agent and a court advocate arrived to explain the process to Muzammil. They also informed him that their fees would be 21% of the total claim. The Mid-Day report did not mention the amount that can be claimed in this instance .
A shocked Muzammil wa s quoted as saying "they had been referred by the sub-inspector probing the case and the postmortem centre at Rajawadi Hospital."
Amid the shocking turn of events, any action on the driver is expected only after the Police team dispatches a memo to the concerned RTO.
Sify.com tried accessing details of the cab involved in the accident from an app called Vahan from the play store. According to this app, the car involved in the crash belongs to an entity named Angela Tours and Travels based in Mira Road. A call to the company's phone number returned no response. Information collected so far suggests that the vehicle registered in March 2015 had a valid insurance up to February 2018. In other words, the insurance, which the touts were talking about, had lapsed.
The story will be updated soon.