Corporal Abhimanyu Gaud, a drill instructor with the Indian Air Force, was marching down Kolkata's Red Road, one that had been closed for traffic, when a speeding Audi SUV struck him and sped off.
This vine shared by journalist Shiv Aroor shows exactly how it happened:
Here's the horrifying moment coward Ambia Sohrab's Audi did its work. https://t.co/yOgOikXNVJ— Shiv Aroor (@ShivAroor) January 15, 2016
The brand new white Audi broke three guard rails when it drove into the parade rehearsal on Red Road at about 6.30 AM. It struck Gaud but sped away, making no attempt to check on whether the air force personnel had been hurt or offer help.
As a police officer described the incident:
"The car dragged Gaud more than 20 m after hitting him. It then stopped and sped away before stopping near the South Gate of Fort William on Kidderpore Road."
The car was tracked down to the residence of a company that belongs to former MLA and TMC leader Mohammed Sohrab. The customer that the company was told to contact was Sohrab's son Ambia.
What's the status now?
Ambia, his brother Sambia, their father Mohammed Sohrab and a key witness identified as Shahnawaz Ali are now officially all untraceable.
It still isn't clear who was behind the wheel, but as this Telegraph report notes, all three members of the Sohrab family have been tracked to various locations before they've gone missing. Ambia's phone was last tracked on Wednesday, Sambia's to a cellphone tower in Meerut on Thursday and Sohrab's has also been switched off since Wednesday evening.
The last time Ambia was caught on camera was when he stepped out of his home on Wednesday morning when, clad in dark clothes, he sped off on a motorcycle with no luggage. Even his father did a similar vanishing act. There's no clue about Sambia's whereabouts either.
The prime witnesses' sister-in-law has given a statement to the police in which she has said that Ali had claimed that Sambia was behind the wheel of the car the accident took place. In her complaint, that the Telegraph obtained, she says that after the SUV hit the first barricade, Ali saw this happen:
"Sambia was seen fighting and arguing with the constables posted there, after that he sped away in high speed which caused the accident."
So was it Sambia or Ambia behind the wheel? All evidence seems to point to the fact that one of the TMC leader's sons was behind the wheel at the time of the accident. The fact that the father and both sons have suddenly vanished doesn't help their cause in any way.
What also hasn't helped is this Hindustan Times report that says that the TMC leader's sons were spotted at a pub from where they went to a prominent nightclub where they were until late in the night. The duo along with a friend are presumed to have been heading home when the accident took place and it isn't clear if they were drunk at the time. And now the police has no way to verify it given they've been missing for the last two days.
Everything Sohrab and his two sons have done so far hints at tampering with evidence and escaping the law. And the longer it takes the less likely it seems that a conviction will be obtained in this case as other evidence also vanishes. Are we headed for another Salman Khan case where we're sure the SUV ran over the IAF constable but we can't ever establish who was behind the wheel?
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has promised strict action against all those guilty. But it is because of her government's not-so-stellar record on cracking down on its own leaders that no one's holding their breath.
Perhaps the only way she can assure her own state's people and the rest of the nation that she means business is by ensuring the driver of the white Audi, whether Ambia or Sambia, is brought to justice at the earliest. The loss of IAF corporal Abhimanyu Gaud's life should not be forgotten in the interest of narrow political gains.