More than ten days after a two-year-old girl Ashika was hit and reportedly dragged by a van for over 50 metres in South Delhi causing severe injuries to her ears, the accused driver was arrested from Najafgarh area on Tuesday. An investigating officer in the case identified the accused as Rupesh Mishra (29).

According to family members of the baby girl, the girl’s ears had to be removed and then stitched back but her problem with hearing continues.

A police officer justified the delay in arrest. He told The Statesman that, “Rupesh belongs to Bihar and after the incident he left for home to attend Chhat festival. Two days ago during the course of investigation police learnt about his date of arrival after which Rupesh was arrested from his house in Najafgarh.”

The accident took place on 20 October in Vasant Kunj. CCTV footage showed the girl running to cross a road when an Eeco van hit her. The case was reported at Vasant Kunj South police station and investigation was started.

Police said the driver was soon identified but was on the run. Ashika lives with her parents near the place where the accident took place. Her father, Amit Kumar, told The Statesman that his daughter was traumatised and has developed fright for vehicles. “She does not want to go out and does not want to meet anyone,” he said.

“My daughter went through a surgery. She has not been talking to anyone since then,” said Kumar, adding that the girl was coming to meet him at a milk booth where he worked when the vehicle hit her. After hitting Ashika, the driver of the Eeco did not stop. “He had no clue that he had run over my daughter and it is only when people chased him and alerted him that he stop. He came out of the car but did not even look under the car. Instead, he promptly ran away ,” said Kumar.

Locals tried to chase the driver but he managed to escape. One of them made a PCR call and informed the police about the incident. Soon, a police team reached the spot and took the girl to hospital where the doctors said that she needed immediate treatment.