Ankola (Karnataka)/Panaji- Union Minister Shripad Yesso Naik was critically injured while his wife and an aide were killed after his car hit a tree in Karnataka's Uttara Kannada district on Monday night, police said.
According to the police, the accident occurred at around 8 p.m. when Naik's driver tried to negotiate a blind curve in mountainous terrain near Ankola and hit the tree on the road side.
The police said that Naik, who is the Ayush Minister as well as Minister of State for Defence, is said to be very critical and was shifted to a hospital in Panaji after first aid at a local government hospital, where his wife, Vijaya and his aide, Dipak Gume were declared dead.
"The family was on its way to visit to the Gante Ganapati temple (Bell Ganesha) in Yellapur taluk and then the Gokarna temple," the police said.
The police officer added that Naik may have visited Ankola, which is around 500 km from Bengaluru, to meet his wife's relatives and this accident took place when they were going to visit temples thereafter.
"The vehicle appears to have lost control due to over speeding as the impact of the accident was such that when the vehicle hit the huge tree on the roadside, it rolled twice in the air, fell on the road and skidded some distance due to impact," the police officer who was on the spot told IANS on the condition of anonymity.
The officer said that along with the minister, there were five others in the vehicle including his wife and the driver. "Three others were injured but not critically," the officer said.
Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa expressed shock over the accident. "My heartfelt condolences on the tragic death of Smt Naik and prayers for the speedy recovery of Naik and those injured," he tweeted.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and asked him to ensure the best treatment to Naik.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh too spoke to the CM and offered any assistance required including air-lifting of the Minister. (Agency)