Van carrying IT staff from Chennai falls off ghat road in the Nilgiris; 1 killed, 17 injured

A woman was killed and 17 others were injured when a van in which they were travelling fell off a Kalhatti ghat road in the Nilgiris on Saturday night. Except the van driver, all the others were employed in an IT firm in Chennai and were travelling to Masinagudi as tourists, the police said. The deceased was identified as Muthumaari.

Two persons — W. Vinod Kumar, 25, from Chennai and G. Joseph, 26, from Coimbatore– working for a private resort in Masinagudi, were arrested for misguiding the van driver.

Police officials said vehicles from outside the Nilgiris were prohibited from descending Kalhatti ghat road due to the steep gradients that had caused a number of serious accidents in the last few years. The van was guided by Vinod and Joseph, who were on a motorcycle. They made a detour and went past the police check-post at Thalakundah junction. The police stationed at the junction usually prevent the vehicles from descending the road and divert traffic towards Masinagudi via Gudalur.

Vinod Kumar, Joseph and the driver of the van were booked under Sections 279 (rash driving or riding in a public way), 337 and 338 (causing hurt to persons by doing rash or negligent acts endangering human life) and 304A (rash or negligent driving) of the Indian Penal Code. The driver and 16 others are undergoing treatment.

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