A day after his arrest in connection with a car crash, in which two Bangladeshi nationals were killed in the small hours of Saturday, Arsalan Parwez, son of a biryani chain owner, was sent to 12 days’ police custody by a city court on Sunday.
The speeding Jaguar, allegedly being driven by Arsalan (21), first hit a Mercedes and then dashed into a police kiosk, killing two bystanders and injuring one, all three Bangladeshi nationals. The incident took place around 1.50 am on Saturday at the crossing of Shakespeare Sarani and Loudon Street in south Kolkata, just metres away from Shakespeare Sarani police station. While Kazi Mohammad Shafi Rahamatullah (36) escaped with minor injuries, the other two Bangladeshi nationals, Kazi Mohammed Mainul Alam (36) and Farhana Islam Tania (30) were killed.
Arsalan was produced in Bankshall Court on Sunday where his lawyers prayed for his bail.
Rejecting his bail plea, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (in-charge) Alakananda Roy remanded the 21-year-old in police custody till August 29. Seeking his police remand, the prosecution claimed that Arsalan, who was driving at a high speed in inclement weather, had jumped the red signal at the four-point Loudon Street-Shakespeare Sarani intersection in south Kolkata.
Public prosecutors Abhijit Chatterjee and Snehangshu Ghosh maintained that the investigation into the incident was at a very early stage and Arsalan’s custodial interrogation was necessary to establish the chain of events that led to the death of two persons. Alsalan has been charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder, attempt to commit culpable homicide, rash driving, mischief and damage to public property, the prosecutors said.
Debajyoti Sengupta, the lawyer representing the 21-year-old, submitted before the court that the Jaguar did not hit the three persons in the kiosk, but the Mercedes. “It is a case of accident and the management graduate from a UK university would abide by any stringent condition if the bail was granted to him,” he pleaded.
Opposing the prayer, the public prosecutors said since the accused person is a management graduate, he should have been aware of speed restrictions and driving rules.
Arsalan’s lawyer later told reporters, “The car of my client did not hit the victims directly. The Jaguar hit the Mercedes, which in turn hit the three persons. We also told the court that there was a possibility of the car skidding due to the inclement weather. However, the court remanded my client in police custody.”
An official of Bangladesh Deputy High Commission in Kolkata said the bodies of the two Bangladeshi nationals were sent to the country on Sunday. The Bangladeshi nationals – both medical tourists – were waiting to catch a cab on that fateful night. Alam was a manager with a telecom service provider in Bangladesh, while Tania was an assistant vice-president in Citi Bank, Bangladesh. They had come to Kolkata on August 14 for treatment and were scheduled to return to Bangladesh on Sunday.
“I cannot believe I am returning alone today (Sunday) without them. It is unbelievable that I am taking their bodies back to the country,” Rahamatullah told reporters before leaving for Bangladesh.
The bodies were handed over to him Saturday evening from SSKM Hospital. They were taken to Bangladesh via Petrapole border.
Two occupants of the Mercedes also sustained injuries in the crash. Amit Kajaria (50) and his wife Kanika (44) are undergoing treatment at AMRI Hospital in Dhakuria. They were on their way home to Alipore after meeting friends in Park Street when the incident took place.
According to a hospital official, Amit received serious injuries to ear and underwent a plastic surgery. His wife received injuries to stomach and is out of danger.