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Road mishap kills Kanwaljit
Minister’s car collides with two trucks near Kharar
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Probe ordered, 7-day mourning in Punjab

The Punjab government has asked the Commissioner, Patiala Division, to hold an inquiry into the accident. The government has also declared a seven-day mourning.

Holiday today, exams as scheduled

The state declared a public holiday on Monday as a mark of respect to the minister. The school and university examinations will, however, be held as scheduled.

Kharar, March 29
Senior Akali leader and Punjab Co-operation Minister Captain Kanwaljit Singh was killed while his driver Parminder Singh and PSO Rattan Singh were injured when the car they were travelling in collided with two trucks on the Chandigarh-Ludhiana Highway , near Khanpur village in Kharar, this evening. The condition of the driver is said to be critical.

Doctors attending on the Captain at the PGI, where he was referred from the Kharar Civil Hospital, announced him dead at 8.30 pm, four hours after the mishap. The accident took place at T Point in Khanpur, which is the bifurcation point for one road leading to the Kharar Civil Hospital and the other towards NH 95.

The Hyundai Elantra (CH 03 S 0074), in which the miinister and the two others were travelling, was coming from the Ludhiana side. Close to the curve, the driver apparently lost control of the vehicle and banged into the rear tyre of the truck coming from the opposite direction.

By the impact of the collision, the car spun on its axis and collided head-on with another truck (HR 58 A 9791), coming from Chandigarh side. The minister, who was sitting in the front seat, suffered maximum impact of the collision.

Both trucks belonged to a Ghaziabad-based company, Bombay Patiala Company, and were on way to Ludhiana. Both drivers are reportedly absconding.

The minister and his driver were pulled out from it by the staff of the pilot vehicle, which was travelling ahead. Valuable time was lost in extracting the minister as he was stuck between the twisted metal sheets and the air bag that had burst with the impact. Onlookers had to use hammers and rods to wrench out the twisted metal.

Talking to TNS in the hospital, Rattan Singh said they were returning after attending a marriage in Ludhiana. “All I remember is that a truck coming from the opposite side hit the car, which turned turtle at least thrice,” he said.

Constable Ravinder Singh, first to reach the accident site, said the minister’s gunmen extracted him out of the vehicle with great difficulty.

Eyewitnesses claimed that his face was smashed beyond recognition and he was bleeding profusely from his chest. Doctors at the civil hospital, where he was initially taken, corroborated this and said they were not able to even recognise him.

Subsequently, he was rushed to the PGI, Chandigarh, where the doctors initially described his condition as “very critical” and said that besides the injuries, he suffered a “cardiac” arrest.

Doctors said he had suffered “extensive and grievous” injuries on the upper part of his body. PGI Director KK Talwar said he had sustained, “head, bone and chest injuries”.

Due to the election code of conduct, the minister was using a private vehicle of one of his supporters. Police personnel said the vehicle was rashly driven.

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A day of coincidences
Tribune News Service

Kharar, March 29
Captain Kanwaljit Singh’s tragic accident has too many coincidences to ignore. It was one of those rare days today when Captain sat in the front seat of his car. “He usually used to sit at the back seat and felt more comfortable there. Today was the rare occasion when he was sitting in the front seat,” said a close confidante of the minister.

Captain was using white Hyundai Elantra, a private vehicle which belonged to Prem Singh sarpanch of Dakoli village in Zirakpur. He had been using this vehicle since the election code of conduct was imposed.

The police is still not sure whether there were two or three people in the accidental car. “By the time I reached the accident spot, one of rescuers was all soaked in blood but did not have any injury,” said constable Ravinder Singh, first cop to reach the place of mishap.

The doctors at the civil hospital, Kharar, too corroborated saying apart from critically injured Captain Kanwaljit Singh and his driver Parminder Singh, a third person was all soaked with blood but did not ask for medical aid.

Both trucks that hit the minister’s car (HR 58 A 9791 and HR 55 B 9491) are of the same company. Both belong to Bombay-Patiala Chahal Company and have nine numeral common along with the date today viz March 29.

Such great was the impact of collision that iron angle, in which front glass was wedged, bended inside the car hitting Captain on his head. The angle even punctured air-balloon rendering it useless. “Had air-balloon opened in time, the minister could have been saved,” observed a police official.

Entire stretch of the road had fuel, blood and oil spilled on it. The door on the side of the driver was barely attached to the vehicle. A shoe of the driver, some documents, cassettes and tissue papers laid soaked in blood.

SSP Mohali Jatinder Pal Singh Aulakh did not reach the spot even after two hours of the accident.

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