Kolkata Police booked actor Vikram Chatterjee for culpable homicide on Tuesday, a month after the car he was driving crashed at Rashbehari Avenue on April 29, resulting in the death of co-passenger model Sonika Singh Chauhan.
According to police sources, Tollygunj police officers on Tuesday moved court with a prayer to book Vikram under the non-bailable Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the IPC, which the court accepted.
According to police sources, the report on actor Vikram Chatterjee’s Toyota Corolla Altis confirmed that his car was moving at a very high speed prior to the crash.
“The report which was received by police last week revealed that about 4.6 seconds before the crash, the car was moving at 105 km/hr. About 2.1 seconds before the crash, the speed was reduced to 93 km/hr, and till 1.6 seconds before the crash, no break was applied. This proves the driver was not in control,” said an officer.
According to police sources, Sonika had not fastened her seatbelt. As the crash was not a frontal collision, the air bag did not deploy.
“The reports have proved that car was at a high speed. This can be considered a deliberate act; hence we moved court and court accepted our prayer. We have booked Vikram under Section 304 of IPC,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Vishal Garg.
Earlier, Vikram had been booked under Section 304A (death by negligence), and had procured bail from court.
Police sources said the result of the alcohol test is still pending, but claimed officers have found a lot of evidence against Vikram.
“The expert opinion on vehicle’s speed before it crashed, statements of bartenders, statements of common friends of Sonika and Vikram as well as other evidence helped us conclude that Sonika’s death was not just an accident. To probe the case further, Vikram has been booked under this stringent section of the Indian Penal Code, and if needed, might be arrested,” an officer said.
After Vikram was admitted to a city hospital following the crash, he was visited by state minister Arup Biswas and several Tollywood actors. When he finally appeared before police, it was only after a local court had granted him bail on May 5, on a personal bond of Rs 1,000. The public prosecutor did not object to the bail. Vikram had also held a press conference after getting discharged from the hospital, during which he denied overspeeding. During interrogation, he admitted to consuming alcohol, but insisted that he was not intoxicated.
“This has given us new hope. We have been fighting for this for long. I believe stringent action against Vikram will give peace of mind to many who have been fighting for justice for Sonika,” a close friend of the model said.