The Whitefield Police have now booked Kalyani Motors - an authorised service centre for Maruti Suzuki, for the fatal car fire which killed a Bengaluru-based woman and her 4-year-old son on February 2.
On Tuesday, the police booked Kalyani Motors under section 304(A) (causing death by negligence) under the Indian Penal Code.
According to Assistant Commissioner of Police, Whitefield, Sudam B Naik, police suspect that 30-year-old Neha and her son Param died due to electrical and mechanical faults in the car.
“The victim’s husband Madhur, has given a statement alleging that the clutch assembly and brake shoes were replaced when the Maruti Ritz VXI was given for service seven months ago. No modification was made to the car,” the ACP added.
Police say that the service supervisor and the service staff of Kalyani Motors and Maruti Suzuki will be questioned to determine whether faulty mechanics or electrical wiring led to the fire.
“There are several possibilities. First, we have to find out if genuine parts were used to replace the old ones. Besides, it also remains to be seen whether genuine parts were used for electrical components as well. The report from the forensic science lab (FSL), which will reveal these details, is awaited,” ACP Sudam said.
Speaking to TNM, a service supervisor with Maruti Suzuki said that if the keys were in the ignition when the car caught fire, the doors would automatically get locked.
“With a VXI, the car is auto-locked if the engine is on and the keys are in the ignition. If a fire happens during such an instance, then the fuse in the car goes off. This cuts off the electricity supply to all electrical components in the car, which could be one explanation as to why the woman and her son could not get out of it. On the other hand, if the engine was off and yet the doors were not unlocked, it means that it is an electrical fault,” the service supervisor said.
The investigating officer in the case says that the FSL report will shed light on all the suspicions. “We have to wait and see what comes out. If it turns out that the car service personnel were at fault, then we will book the said persons for negligence. But until then, we cannot book any people. Hence, we have booked Kalyani Motors under 304(A). When the FSL report comes, we will take further action. We have ruled out the possibility of someone setting the car on fire after preliminary investigation,” the investigating officer added.
Neha Varma and her son Param were charred to death after the Maruti Ritz car they were in, caught fire in the basement of their apartment in Bengaluru’s Whitefield area.
On the afternoon of February 2, Neha had taken Param for lunch at Herbs and Spices restaurant in Whitefield. After lunch, they went shopping and returned home at around 3.25 pm. At around 3.50 pm, the security guard noticed smoke coming out of the basement and realised that the car was on fire. The Fire and Emergency services was informed immediately. However, it was only after the firefighters doused the flames that they realised a woman and child were in the car.