BANGALORE: Furious that a fourwheeler driver didn't give way for him, an unidentified driver of a white Honda Civic allegedly shot four rounds from his air revolver at the vehicle and injured a 14-year-old boy travelling in it near Bashyam Circle in Sadashivnagar past Sunday midnight.
The incident took place 500 metres from the Sadashivnagar police station, but cops were yet to zero in on the culprit 24 hours later. The boy, Nithin Lingaraju, underwent a minor surgery to get the pellet that had landed above his left ear removed. Police are in possession of the steel pellet, resembling a ball bearing used in bicycles. Nithin, discharged from Nimhans on Monday evening, is said to be out of danger. Forensic experts confirmed that the pellet could have been fired from an air revolver.
Police have booked an attempt-tomurder case and launched a hunt for the car and its driver. Nithin was returning home with his parents, Vyalikaval residents Lingaraju and Ambika, and two sisters when the mishap occurred. Lingaraju, who was driving the Tata Indica, and others were unhurt.
"We have not charged the accused under Arms Act as the weapon does not fall under this section," DCP (Central) G Ramesh told TOI. "Since it's an attempt to take one's life, we have invoked Section 307 of the IPC," he said.
RAGE AT THE WHEEL
Past Sunday midnight, a Tata Indica driver sees a speeding white Honda Civic criss-crossing his path a couple of times in Sadashivnagar, coming dangerously close amid honking
When he shouts at him to calm down, the Civic driver pulls out an air revolver, fires twice into the Indica's boot, leaving a dent
Then the Civic speeds past Indica, takes a U-turn and comes close; the driver fires two more rounds into the window, injuring 14-year-old boy Nithin Lingaraju (in picture)
Sadashivanagar is said to be home to the country's first generation rich and powerful. But that doesn't guarantee any kind of security was clear late on Sunday as an incident of road rage ended up in pellets from an air revolver piercing through the silence of the night and injuring a 14-year-old boy.
Police said the incident took place around 12 am when cab operator Lingaraju was driving his car past 5th Cross in Sadashivnagar with his family of four in the vehicle. Incidentally, only two crosses away is a Union minister's residence. Lingaraju, who owns two cabs and a tempo traveller and operates his vehicles for KPTC on a contract basis, had gone to Kanakapura on Sunday to attend the funeral of his wife, Ambika's 90-year-old grandmother Jalajamma. His friend, Narayanaswamy of RT Nagar, had accompanied him.
"I dropped Narayanaswamy at his RT Nagar residence and was driving back home. My wife and daughters were sitting in the back. Nithin was sitting next to me in the front. I was driving past Mehkri Circle when I first noticed the white Honda Civic car. On entering Sadashivnagar 5th Cross from C V Raman Road, I heard repeated honking and saw the same Honda Civic car behind," Lingaraju told the TOI.
He claimed that the car was being driven in a rash and negligent manner and it was very close behind his four-wheeler. "There was another car coming from the opposite direction, forcing me to slow down. This seems to have made the Honda Civic driver angry as he honked again and again," Lingaraju said, adding "I shouted from my car at the Honda Civic driver to calm down."
"The Honda Civic car driver pulled out a revolver like object, fired twice at the back of my car, drove past my vehicle and sped away," Lingaraju said.
The cab operator stopped the car and checked the damage. "There was a dent in the car's behind and I returned to my seat. I resumed driving but within minutes Ambika shouted saying that the car was speeding towards us from the opposite direction. The car drove past us, took a U-turn and was behind us again. The driver soon pulled up the car to the left of my vehicle, fired twice into the window from his revolver and sped off."
"The car went towards Bashyam Circle. But Nithin, a class VIII student at KECS School in Vyalikaval, began complaining of pain in the head. I saw blood trickling out from above his left ear. On checking, I found that upper skin of the left ear was torn. Realizing that my son was in danger, I called Narayanaswamy over the phone and asked him to come down immediately," Lingaraju said.
Nithin was taken to KC General Hospital and after night duty nurses administered him first aid, he was shifted to Nimhans where doctors operated on him around 3 am.
"Lingaraju has been able to recall the number only as KA04 4611," police said.
AIR PISTOL CAN BE FATAL
The real thing may not be easily available in the market. So why not go for something similar? Though a toy by name, it can pack in almost as much power.
In the face of rigorous adherence to rules to obtain revolvers, Bangaloreans are finding a better alternative in air pistols. Freely available in the market and at affordable rates, they not only help fuel trigger-happy instincts but can be equally dangerous when targeted at the right spots.
"If hit in the right place like the temple or soft tissues of the neck, airgun shots can prove to be as dangerous as real bullets. You can pack in small pellets in airgun shots and if embedded in soft tissues, they require surgical intervention," a police officer said.
Airguns, costing Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 a piece, are easily available at almost all high-end toy shops.
Additional commissioner of police (law and order) T Suneel Kumar said the weapon requires no licence and anybody can possess it for self-protection.
What is our mistake, asks victim Rajiv Kalkod
Nithin Lingaraju is fed up with Bangalore, where he was born and brought up. He has spent all his 14 years in and around Malleswaram, Vyalikaval and Palace Guttahalli, no strangers to violence as rowdies clash occasionally. Nithin dreams of becoming police officer but never thought he'd be at the receiving end of such a violent outburst.
"It hurts," he said, lying in the hall of a single bedroom house on Vyalikaval 1st Main. "I was a little sleepy and saw my father advising the driver of a white car to drive carefully. Nothing happened for the next two or three minutes. Suddenly, I heard a bang," he said. His mother Ambika sensed something amiss. "After the bang, the white car overtook our vehicle and sped off. Within seconds, it was speeding towards us," she said.
Nithin recalled: "The car went past us, took a U-turn and went behind us. As the driver pulled alongside, I could see the driver's window being lowered. The driver thrust his hand out and I saw the black gun in his hand. The next moment, I felt a stinging pain above my left ear."
"What if it was a revolver or a pistol? I'd have died before my parents. I don't understand why he shot at us. My father only advised him to drive with caution - he was not even rude. Can anyone tell me what our mistake is?" he wondered