He wanted a better life for us: Kin of vendor run over by BMW in Delhi

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Heading home after a day’s labour around 10. 15 pm, all 50-year-old vegetable vendor Basu Kumar Shau had was Rs 150 when he was hit by a BMW car while crossing the road with his cart under the Munirka flyover in Southwest Delhi late on Sunday.

Senior police officers said that a 31-year-old man, Shivang, son of a Rajokri-based businessman who owns an overseas construction firm, has been arrested and the damaged car was seized.

An officer said, “Shivang was returning after dinner with three to four of his friends when he hit the vegetable vendor who was crossing the road.”

Shau’s only daughter, Manisha Shau (28) told The Indian Express that the family was dependent on her father’s meagre earnings, out of which they used to pay their house rent, her coaching fees and daily expenses.

Manisha, who is preparing for Central Teacher Eligibility Test, said, “My father used to earn around Rs 10,000-Rs 15,000 on a good month. We had planned that once I started earning, I would get a shop for him so he wouldn’t need to roam around with his vegetable cart.”

Shau and his wife Roma Shau (56) came to Delhi from West Bengal’s Midnapore in 1982. Shau started working as a cook at the British Embassy soon after. Following an accident that rendered him bedridden for three years after sustaining injuries on his foot, he gave up the job. “He decided to do something on his own and started selling vegetables. My mother and I were concerned as he used to set up his stall around Munirka and R K Puram and it involved a lot of labour,” Manisha said.

She said Shau took pride in what he did and never made her feel like they were going through a financial crunch. “Even though my family was struggling to make ends meet, my father always managed some savings. He wanted a better life for me. We were hopeful of moving out of our present house in Munirka as it is very congested,” Manisha added.

Ram Parvesh Gond (25) an ice cream seller on whose statement the FIR was lodged said he was attending to a customer when he saw a vehicle coming from Vasant Vihar and allegedly crashing into Shau and his cart. “The lights had turned red but the car jumped it and mowed him down. The vehicle dragged the cart for several metres before stopping for some time and fleeing,” Gond claimed.

The vehicle was traced to the businessman through the broken number plate that was left behind at the spot, police said.

Mohd Shabud, a juice seller near Shau’s house, remembered him as a cheerful person who always lent him vegetables for free even if he did not have money at the time. “He used to return home every day after greeting me and I used to give him a mixed juice that he liked for free,” he said.

Roma said it had been three months since Shau’s phone stopped working and every day, they used to wait with bated breath regarding his whereabouts. “We knew he would come back around 10.30 pm like every day, but were always praying for his safety as roads are unsafe…what is the worth of the life of a street vendor when rich people can run them over anytime they want?” she asked.

A police officer said, “Once we reached Rajokri, Shivang and his father tried to shift the blame on the driver, and we took him into custody and he claimed to have driven the car. On sustained interrogation, he broke down and said his employer’s son was driving during the incident.” After the father, on whose name the car has been registered, was interrogated, he allegedly disclosed that his son was at the wheel. Police said that the accused was granted bail as it is a bailable offence.