The shocking death of former Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry and a co-passenger who killed in a car crash on Sunday, preliminary probe has revealed that the two had not been wearing seat belts at the time and were "overspeeding" when the vehicle crashed on the Ahmedabad-Mumbai highway. The probe has stated that the an "error of judgement" by the driver caused the accident.
The Mercedes car covered a distance of 20 km in just nine minutes after crossing the Charoti check post in Maharashtra's Palghar district, 120 km away from Mumbai, police officers told the media on Sunday.
The car hit a road divider on a bridge over the Surya river, killing Mistry (54) and Jahangir Pandole on the spot. Jahangir Pandole was the brother of Darius Pandole, a former independent director of the Tata Group of companies. Darius and Anahita Pandole, who was on the wheel, were also seriously injured in the accident.
Cyrus Mistry accident: How did it happen?
Mistry was returning to Mumbai from Ahmedabad when the tragedy struck at 2.30 PM. The car was being driven by Mumbai-based gynaecologist Anahita Pandole (55). Her husband Darius Pandole (60) was sitting in the passenger seat in front with his wife. Mistry and Jahangir Pandole were in the back seats.
An eye-witness had said a woman was driving the car and tried to overtake another vehicle from the left side, but lost control and crashed into the road divider.
CCTV footage of the incident has revealed that the car was speeding. "As per the preliminary investigation, over-speeding and the error of judgement caused the car accident. Both the deceased were not wearing seat belts," a police official told PTI.
"While analysing the footage captured by CCTV cameras at the Charoti check post, Palghar police found the car had crossed the check post at 2.21 pm and the accident took place 20 km ahead (in the direction of Mumbai)," he said.
This shows the car covered a distance of 20 km (from the check post) in just nine minutes, the official said, adding that the accident took place at 2.30 pm on the Surya river bridge.
The bodies of Mistry and Jahangir Pandole were sent to the state-run J J Hospital in Mumbai for postmortem, the official said.
Who was Cyrus Mistry?
Cyrus Mistry was the youngest scion of the 157-year-old multi-billion dollar Shapoorji Pallonji Group and youngest son of the group's patriarch Pallonji Mistry, who passed away late June this year. He is survived by his wife Rohiqua and two sons, Firoz and Zahan.
The Mistry's epic showdown after Cyrus Mistry was thrown out of the group as the chairman in a board coup in October 2016, with the Tata Group sparked the biggest corporate feud in the history of India Inc.
Under Cyrus' watch, the Tata Group (top-20 listed group companies) grew by CAGR of 12.5 per cent, while their debt has increased at a slower pace of 9.98 per cent from Rs 1.89 lakh crore to Rs 2.29 lakh crore.
Who were the Pandoles?
The accident has also brought to media attention the Pandole family which had once owned a soft drink company named Duke's and was known to be a family friend of the Mistrys. The Pandoles sold Duke's to Pepsi two decades ago. Dinshaw Pandole, the father of the Darius and the deceased Jehangir who were Mistry's co-passengers, had been part of the deal. Dinshaw Pandole also passed away last week. Mistry and the Pandoles had been visiting Udwada, where the main "Fire Temple" venerated by Parsis is situated to pray for Dinshaw Pandole. It was on their way back that the accident happened.
(With inputs from PTI)