Charges were framed against actor Vikram Chatterjee at Alipore court in Kolkata on Tuesday, two years after he was involved in a car crash in the city, killing his co-passenger model Sonika Chauhan.
Chatterjee has been charged under the Indian Penal Code with culpable homicide not amounting to murder, causing grievous hurt by act that endangers life and personal safety of others and damaging property. He has also been charged under several sections of the Motor Vehicles Act for rash driving and driving under the influence of alcohol. The trial is scheduled to start in October.
Chatterjee was arrested on July 6, 2017. His car had hit a pavement at high speed in south Kolkata in the early hours of April 29, killing Sonika who was sitting in the front passenger seat. The Kolkata police filed a chargesheet on July 19.
Chatterjee, who was in court, did not want to comment on Tuesday. His lawyer Anirban Guha Thakurta said the court did not accept the prosecution’s argument for charging Chatterjee with murder (Section 302 of the IPC). The section was dropped while the rest were kept.
It was alleged that Chatterjee consumed alcohol at a party and also while he was driving the car. Forensic reports indicated that the car was moving at a speed well over 100 kmph.
Sonika’s friends gave confidential statements to a magistrate. After his arrest, Chatterjee was remanded in judicial custody before being released on bail.
The death created divisions in Kolkata’s modelling and acting circles. Many of Sonika’s friends accused Vikram Chatterjee of suppressing the truth.
The model’s friends organised a candlelight walk on May 8, 2017, demanding justice for Sonika.