New Delhi -
A valet at a five-star hotel in the Indian capital caused $335 000 worth of damage to a Lamborghini Gallardo after crashing it into a concrete wall in front of horrified guests, the hotel said on Thursday.
(A photograph of the aftermath at Le Meridien hotel, published in the Times of India newspaper, showed the severely crumpled front end of the sleek white supercar with its hood forced up.)
“The valet lost control of the car when he was driving it to the porch and rammed it into the wall,” said Nipun Miglani, who identified himself as a friend of the owner and has been speaking to local media about the incident.
A hotel spokeswoman told AFP that the valet had been working for 10 years and appeared to have lost control of the Italian speedster on the slippery forecourt after an early afternoon rain shower.
“We get all kind of luxury cars, important guests and hold outstanding events, and this was something completely inadvertent,” she said, saying the accident occurred last Thursday.
The Mumbai-based owner of the car, who runs a construction business, has made no comment.
Miglani and newspaper reports identified him as Abid Fateh Mohammed Khatri.
Miglani said Khatri purchased the car two years ago for 3.5 million rupees ($582 000).
CCTV footage shows the valet bringing the car from the parking area to the porch of the multi-storey hotel, which hosts several glitzy restaurants and a bar, and then briefly getting out, the Times of India said.
After climbing back behind the wheel, he then lurches forward inexplicably, sending a colleague diving for cover before piling head-on into the wall.
The car had been borrowed from its owner and driven to the hotel by a cousin, according to Miglani and media reports.
A police case has been filed against Le Meridien, which has refused to accept responsibility, as well as the valet. The owner claims the repair costs have been estimated at 20 million rupees ($335 000), Miglani said.
The rear-wheel-drive Gallardo, named after a type of fighting bull, is capable of a top speed of around 200 miles an hour (321 kilometres an hour) and has an engine packing more than 550 brake horsepower.
It sells in Europe for around $250 000 but import duties on supercars normally double their sale price in India - not enough to deter New Delhi's growing band of millionaires.
The valet was taken to hospital for treatment for head injuries but was discharged the same day. The hotel said he was currently off work.
“We have given him leave until such time that he recovers psychologically and till the time that the insurance claim and other processes clear through,” the spokeswoman said.
“We may not put him back on valet. We will give him time because he may get nervous initially,” she added. - Sapa-AFP