Sanjay Sehgal, a businessman based in Jalandhar, had purchased new Maruti Baleno on the eve of Diwali recently. To surprise his only daughter, Deepti Katyal (now married to Amit Katyal), about the new car and also celebrate first birthday of his granddaughter, Sanjay decided to travel to Faridabad in his new car to his daughter’s house.
Travelling in Maruti’s new premium hatchback were Sanjay Sehgal (52), his wife Kiran Sehgal (48), niece Pallavi (16), nephews Anshul (18), Parul (17), and Sonu (20).
Their journey of a little over 400 kms started at about 10:30 pm this Wednesday (18th November 2015) from Jalandhar. In the early hours of Thursday, travelling on NH1, near Gharonda in Karnal, their car met with an horrific accident, killing four of the six family members, while the other two (Sonu and Pallavi) were left seriously injured.
As per initial reports, the Baleno in which the Sehgal family was travelling, was hit by a potato laden truck. The impact was such that Maruti Baleno overturned and rolled onto the other side of the highway. The images you see above, is of the crumpled Maruti Baleno after the horrific crash.
By the time cops from local police station arrived on the spot, the driver of the truck had fled accident scene. “A case under Sections 304-A (causing death by negligence) and 279 (rash driving or riding on a public way) has been registered against the driver of the truck (HP-12-C-9472),” said Gharonda station house officer (SHO) inspector Jagdish Mor.
When the news of Baleno accident reached friends and family in Jalandhar and to her daughter in Faridabad, it left everyone shell shocked. Eldest in the family, Sanjay was a gem of a person who helped everyone around him, says his cousin Neeraj Sehgal.
Owning several small establishments like department store, book depot, etc, Sanjay was also working with Central Bank of India as a collection agent. Speaking about the four youngsters in the car, Anshul and Parul had plans to go to Australia for higher studies and were awaiting for their visa approval, Pallavi was in class XI, while Sonu helped Sanjay at his book depot.
In Jalandhar cantonment’s Mohalla 23, people shut their shops and gathered at the residence of Mr Sehgal to pay their respect.
Built on a new lightweight platform, Maruti claims that though Baleno is lighter than Swift, its structure and built quality is much stronger; thus making it one of the safest cars on offer in the Maruti line-up. But even then, safety of life is not guaranteed in the safest of cars.
Speaking about safety and cars, a question which comes to mind is that why cars sold in India have performed poorly in globally recognized crash tests?
Today, car manufacturers are also exporting the same cars which they sell in India. Surprisingly, crash test results of cars which are sold in India, and the one’s which are exported from India, show very different results (though both are made at the same plant). Does this indicate that quality of cars sold in India is not at par with their export-spec counterparts?
For example, Maruti Swift sold in India was awarded a 0 star rating by Global NCAP, whereas Swift for export scored 4 star rating in ASEAN NCAP. It’s not only Maruti, there are other car makers as well who have been questioned about the same.
Recently reader Rishabh Sekhani highlighted a response he got from VW India customer care when he asked them if the body structure and safety of Jetta sold in India is same as that of sold in the US; as both versions get CKD kits built in Mexico.
The reply Mr Sekhani received from VW India read – “With reference to your query below, we would like to inform you that while the Jetta is manufactured from CKD kits manufactured in Mexico, its body structure is not the same as the Jetta sold in the United States. Hence the safety features are different from those available in North America.”
The question we need to ask these manufacturers is why the difference in quality? Why not make all cars with same quality, be it for export or for India or for any other country?
That said, better build quality does not always insure safety, as there have been cases where people have died inside a Mercedes Benz, Audi, BMW or any premium expensive car. But, better build quality along with we adhering to traffic and safety rules, will definitely reduce the number of accident related deaths in India.