The family of three — Narendra Bhati (42), Pushpa (40) and their son Jitendra (15) — died on the spot after being hit by Gill’s Mahindra Adventure car travelling at around 150 kmph when they entered the active race area.
The FIR has also named the organisers Maxperience along with FMSCI, JK Tyres, Mahindra and MRF Tyres for alleged negligence leading to the deaths.
Agitated family members of the accident victims and natives of Hotarda village inspect Gaurav Gill’s car on Sunday
DSP (Balotra) Chug Singh Sodha told TOI that an FIR under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) has been registered against Gill at the Samdari police station. “The FIR has been registered against Gill, Sharif and organisers of the event (Maxperience). No arrest has been made in the case yet,” he said. Additional SP, Khinv Singh said that Gill and Sharif were booked on the basis of their names painted on the car.
Meanwhile, Gill’s whereabouts are unknown after organisers confirmed on Saturday that he was admitted to a local hospital suffering from mental trauma and respiratory issues.
Attempts to reach out to him failed as his mobile phone was switched off. Taking cognizance of the incident, the Ashok Gehlot government has removed Barmer district collector Himanshu Gupta and superintendent of police Shivraj Meena. The state government has also directed Jodhpur divisional commissioner to conduct an inquiry into the matter and submit the findings within seven days.
“According to preliminary information, no permission was issued for the rally neither was there any safety arrangements in place. Taking a strong note of this, district collector Himanshu Gupta and SP Shivraj Meena has been put under APO (Awaiting Posting Orders),” read a statement issued by the chief minister’s office (CMO).
The family members of the deceased along with the natives of Hotarda village had continued their agitation for more than 30 hours refusing to take the bodies for cremation, seeking arrest of the accused and suspension of the police officials for their negligence. They also demanded Rs 2 crore as compensation along with employment in the Rajasthan government for the kin of the deceased.
They only agreed to take back the bodies after Gupta intervened and assured them of justice. Till last reports came in, the bodies were cremated by the family members as per Hindu rituals after postmortem, the findings of which are yet to emerge. Further, in a clear departure from what the organisers had claimed, the initial investigation into the accident revealed lapses in the safety measures undertaken by the local organisers Maxperience, based out of Gurugram.
Maxperience went ahead with the race without official permission from the local authorities though they had sought approval for conducting the race on August 27, a copy of that letter is in possession with TOI.
Barmer district collector had in fact shared the details of the September 20-22 race with the local police too but the latter approached the information in the most casual manner. At most they could have either sought direction from the collector on the matter or spoken to the organisers for the scale of arrangements and number of personnel required for the race.
Flouting the FMSCI guidelines, the local organisers also failed to create a 30-second video about the rally and its route and broadcast it several times in the nearby areas 15 days prior to the event continuously.