|The car was centrally locked and once it fell into the water, Agarwal may have failed to locate the unlock key in the darkness. The car was filled with water and he is believed to have suffocated inside.
“That the car turned upside down made his job difficult,” said an officer from Anandapur police station.
Cracks on the windscreen and his outstretched legs suggested Agarwal had made a last-ditch effort to break it open.
The victim had the seatbelt strapped to him and did not have any injury mark. “He died of drowning,” said the officer.
Uttam Das, who runs a tea stall a few metres off the accident spot, said the occupant could not be spotted immediately because the car was upside down.
“We thought that those in the car may have managed to come out. But as the car was straightened with the help of a crane, we saw the man at the wheel,” said Das.
An officer from the traffic police fatal squad said: “The person may have dozed off, or perhaps it was something else. The cause of death will be known after post-mortem.”
Agarwal, father of a two-year-old son, had started his catering business about four years ago. He is a resident of Baikuntha Chatterjee Lane, near Howrah Maidan.
He studied at St Thomas Church School, Howrah, and then graduated fromBhawanipur Education Society.
He used to supply food to offices in New Town and its neighbourhood, his uncle, Ashok Agarwal, said. “It was a small start-up,” Ashok said.
The cause of the accident is yet to be established but the tragedy has again brought to the fore the perils of driving on the state highway that leads to the Sunderbans.
Employees of a Cognizant Technology Solutions office, located off the road, regularly complain about the risks they have to take in making the everyday trip back from work.
A CTS employee was killed along with his pool car driver and a colleague was critically injured in a collision with a bus on the Basanti Highway in February.
In January 2015, at least 25 CTS employees were injured when a bus ferrying them to office collided with a lorry.
Five people were killed and three injured last February when a speeding truck lost control and ploughed into a group in a roadside market.
In August 2016, a college student travelling with a friend on a scooter was killed after a truck hit the two-wheeler and ran him over.
Almost everyone travelling on the road complains about a section of reckless drivers. The accident spot had a speed limit of 20kmph, according to a board. There are no dividers and some drivers keep changing flanks to overtake others.
The road space has not changed over the years though the number of vehicles has multiplied as colleges and offices have come up along the way.
The police last year had said that road deaths in Calcutta had gone down. Basanti Highway remains a blot.