CHANDIGARH ; Four members of a family, including two children, drowned after a businessman allegedly drove his Ford Endeavour SUV into the Bhakra canal on the Patiala-Nabha road on Saturday.
Those dead were identified as Paramveer Singh, 40, his wife Deepshikha, 38, daughter Liza, 7 and son Sushant, 4, all residents of local Adarsh Colony in Patiala. The incident took place around 11:30am on Saturday. Paramveer was owner of an immigration consultancy firm which has branches in Patiala and Bathinda.
Superintendent of police (SP) HS Hans said prima facie, it appears to be a case of suicide. Bystanders informed the police about the incident and a team of divers stationed at the canal immediately jumped and started rescue operations.
It took the divers three hours to fish out the bodies stuck in the vehicle, the SP said. Eyewitness told police that the Paramveer stopped his SUV a few metres from the canal, but suddenly accelerated and it fell into the water body.
“The family is in complete state of shock and their statements cannot be recorded at this point. We have not found any suicide note from the vehicle,” the SP said.
Civil lines station house officer (SHO) Ramanjeet Singh said the couple purchase some grocery from Bhadson road and picked up their children from DAV Public School before the incident. The school authorities said that Deepshikha showed no signs of stress or depression when she came to pick up her children.
Police have started inquest proceedings under Section 174 (to inquire and report on suicide, etc) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
‘Were banging at windows to save their lives’
Shankar Bhardwaj, president of the divers’ club, said they immediately jumped into the canal to rescue the occupants of the SUV. “We could have saved them, but we failed open the SUV doors due to the central locking system,” he said, adding that “children were banging at the windowpanes of the vehicle to save their lives. It took us three hours to break the windshield, but it was too late by then.”