An Alipore court will decide on October 9 whether actor Vikram Chatterjee will get relief in the case of model and TV host Sonika Chauhan’s death when a car he was driving crashed in April, or if the case will go to trial.
Both the prosecution and defence made their pleas in court Wednesday, with Vikram’s lawyers appealing for discharge.
“Our main plea is that there is no prima facie evidence that our client has been negligent to have caused the accident,” said Anirban Guhathakurta, Vikram’s lawyer.
On 28 September, Vikram’s counsel had sought relief for the actor from court, reportedly stating that no alcohol was found in his blood tests.
Soon after Sonika’s death, Vikram had held a press meet claiming he was neither drunk nor speeding when the car crashed on April 29, contesting claims by Sonika’s friends that he had consumed alcohol before offering to drop her home.
“The main allegation of the prosecution is that he was drunk. However, the prosecution has not been able to produce a single medical document supporting this allegation, whereas there has been every opportunity for investigative agencies as well as the prosecution to prove that my client was drunk as he was taken to the hospital from the crash site and medical tests had been conducted,” said Guhathakurta.
According to a report filed by the Kolkata Police, Vikram’s car was moving at a speed of 95-105 kmph at the time of the accident.
As they were going down Rashbehari Avenue in south Kolkata at around 3.30 am, the car crashed into a divider in the middle of the road and then into a lamp post on the other side of the road.
“We are very hopeful that his (Vikram’s) application will be dismissed and charges will be framed on October 9. We expect a speedy trial,” said Sanjay Basu, the lawyer representing Sonika’s family. He added that the charges to be framed include IPC sections 279 (rash driving), 338 (causing grievous hurt by an act endangering life or personal safety of others) 427 (mischief causing damage) 304A (causing death by negligence) 304 (part II) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and section 185 of Motor Vehicles Act (drunk driving).
Speaking to The Indian Express, Sonika’s father Vijay Singh Chauhan said, “We hope that charges are framed in the case and it goes to trial soon,” he added.
“Vikram Chatterjee is trying to mislead people and give a political colour to the case. This is a straight case of justice versus injustice,” said another family member of Sonika.