Wake up, Pune! Porsche crash reflects how vitiated city's social atmosphere has become

Stricter laws are one way to control those who think they are above justice

My home is not too far from Kalyani Nagar, the scene of the ghastly accident in Pune, when an underage brat, in a swanky Porsche, at 200 kmph, flung two young techies 15 feet in the air, killing the young woman on the spot, while her male friend succumbed to grievous injuries later. Kalyani Nagar is a posh area with several upmarket restaurants, bars, clubs and pubs, frequented by techies who love to party over weekends after putting in long hours at demanding jobs. Most are ambitious out-of-towners, happy to let their hair down in a new city miles away from home. I have frequented these places myself, and keenly observed the scene, especially after midnight, when the roar of Ferraris, Porsches and Aston Martins, racing across the Kalyani Nagar bridge, often drowns out the high-decibel tracks being blasted by DJs as young things dance the night away fuelled by exotic cocktails… and stronger substances. If there is an age limit, it is recklessly disregarded by owners of these glittering waterholes as arrogant, super-entitled underage monsters stagger in nonchalantly.

The juvenile in Pune had spent Rs70,000 in two bars that fateful evening. Petty change for someone like him, son of controversial real estate developer Vishal Agarwal, and grandson of Surendra Agarwal, a notorious businessman, with links to underworld dons. Both are under police detention, while the juvenile delinquent is in a children’s observation centre for 14 days.

The Porsche that hit two young techies in Pune | PTI The Porsche that hit two young techies in Pune | PTI

As a person who loves Pune, none of this is shocking. It has become the ‘Pune way of life’, after rapacious builders with strong political backers grabbed tracts of prime land and built gleaming towers, boasting of unimaginably luxurious amenities. Builders and netas ruthlessly conspired to ruin what was once a cultured and refined city known for its high standards of education, and its impeccable legacy of freedom fighters, thinkers and intellectual stalwarts. Today’s Pune is like a den of thieves, with uneducated, ridiculously wealthy builders who think it is cool to allow teenage children to run around in cars that cost Rs2 crore and more. So what if one Porsche gets totalled in a careless accident? There are five more equally expensive cars in the garage, just for the enjoyment of kids who like speed.

In this case, the matters are far more serious, with attempts to intimidate and bribe the family driver into accepting responsibility for the crime. The brat’s friends have, however, admitted to the police it was their friend at the wheel of the killer car, while the father and grandfather were busy offering allurements to all and sundry, including two doctors who threw away the brat’s blood sample into a dustbin and substituted it with a ‘clean’ one. Both docs have been arrested after public outrage and political pressure escalated. Irony: the brat was too drunk to realise he was beaten up by an enraged crowd who summoned the cops.

Friends who live in Pune say the clubs and pubs are pretty empty following the tragedy, as owners wonder how to get back to business without flouting laws. Surely, it is not all that tough? Live streaming of entry and exit points is being considered. But why not do it the way the rest of the world imposes age limits—insist on legit ID cards and enforce the rule strictly.

This case is not just about an out of control car being driven by a drunk juvenile who hit and killed innocents after bingeing with buddies. It is a ghastly reflection of how vitiated Pune’s social atmosphere has become after the city was captured by the likes of the Agarwal family. Stricter laws are but one way to control those who think they are above justice. Wake up, Pune! And pay up.