Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Drunk Actor At Wheels Killed Kolkata Model? Locals Demand Justice

Ten days after Sonika Chauhan died in a car crash in Kolkata and two days after the driver of the car claimed he was not intoxicated nor speeding, friends and associates of the 27-year-old model-anchor held a candlelight vigil to demand justice for her.

The trigger: A press meet on Friday held by Vikram Chatterjee, the actor who crashed the car just hours after he got bail. "I am hearing many things," he said, "that I was intoxicated, that I was driving at 120 km per hour. But those are not true."

Five of Sonika's friends who were at the same bars as the couple on the night of April 28-29 till almost 2.30 am, filed police statements today, questioning Mr Chatterjee's claims. They did not wish to be named but the thrust of their statements was he was not telling the truth.

Not everybody who came to the candle-light vigil at the Tollygunge police station, which is handling the case and where the battered car is still lying, knew either Ms Chauhan or Mr Chatterjee. They came just to demand justice for her. The police have not made a single statement on the case till date.

A few people knew the actor. Saurav Das, an actor, said, "We want Vikram to tell the truth. It is evident he had been drinking. And then he does a press meet to say he was not. Come on Vikram. We are with you, buddy, but please tell the truth."

Indroneel Mukherjee, a fashion designer who has worked with Mr Chatterjee, said, "He is a nice person but I was disappointed when he said he was neither drunk nor speeding. We planned to start a campaign, Forgive Vikram for a mistake, an accident. But after the press meet, we couldn't."

At the vigil, BJP lawmaker Rupa Ganguly turned up and after several minutes of silence, said, "Why don't we know the facts yet? Why are the police going slow on the case? Why were ministers and important people with Vikram that day?"

Ms Ganguly was referring to pictures of a senior minister in the Mamata Banerjee government, Mr Arup Biswas, rushing to the hospital to inquire after Mr Chatterjee hours after the accident.

For the first time since Ms Chauhan's death, her mother posted anguished questions on social media too: "We need answers and we have not got any. Why ??? what??? How??," Mrs Sharon Singh Chauhan wrote.

"She (Sonika) took the decision to trust a friend and trust her life with him at the wheel. Why did it go so wrong... not only did it end her life... but it was clearly reckless and rash... negligence causing her life to be snatched away. She did not deserve this."

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