Charges were laid against actor Vikram Chatterjee in Alipore court in Calcutta on Tuesday, two years after he was involved in a car crash in the city, killing his co-driver Sonika Chauhan.
Chatterjee has been charged under the Indian Penal Code with culpable homicide not constituting murder, causing grievous bodily harm by an act which endangers the life and personal safety of others and damages property. He was also charged under several sections of the Motor Vehicles Act with reckless driving and driving under the influence of alcohol. The trial is expected to start in October.
Chatterjee was arrested on July 6, 2017. His car had struck a sidewalk at high speed in southern Kolkata in the early hours of April 29, killing Sonika who was sitting in the front passenger seat. Kolkata police filed a complaint on July 19.
Chatterjee, who was in court, declined to comment on Tuesday. His lawyer, Anirban Guha Thakurta, said the court did not accept the prosecution’s argument to charge Chatterjee with murder (IPC section 302). The section has been abandoned while the rest has been preserved.
It was alleged that Chatterjee consumed alcohol at a party and also while driving the car. Forensic reports indicated that the car was traveling at a speed well over 100 km / h.
Sonika’s friends made confidential statements to a magistrate. After his arrest, Chatterjee was remanded in custody before being released on bail.
Death has created divisions in Kolkata modeling and acting circles. Many of Sonika’s friends have accused Vikram Chatterjee of suppressing the truth.
The model’s friends held a candlelight march on May 8, 2017, demanding justice for Sonika.
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