Actress Bhagyashree blames driver for September 2016 hit-and-run

As motorist injured in September 2016 accident alleges police inaction, cops contradict their own FIR and say it was not actress Bhagyashree, but her driver, who was at the wheel

Bhagyashree
Bhagyashree

In yet another case of star-struck authorities, the Santacruz police, who had booked actress Bhagyashree in an accident case, have been sitting on the complaint for over two months now with the investigation barely crawling forward. Officers, however, claimed that the reason the probe is going slow is because they are still gathering evidence.

Himalaya Dasani
Himalaya Dasani

The actress has been booked on a complaint by Santacruz resident Mohammed Nausif Shaikh (30), who provides medical equipment to hospitals. Shaikh, in his complaint (accessed by mid-day), has stated that on November 2, 2016, when he was riding from Khar subway to Link Road on his bike, he stopped at a signal on SV Road near the Vodafone gallery in Santacruz.

Around 3 pm, a speeding white Skoda jumped the red light and rammed into Shaikh, knocking him down and injuring his left leg. Shaikh, in his complaint, said he had to go to Asha Parekh hospital on his own in an autorickshaw.

Santacruz resident Mohammed Nausif Shaikh, who was allegedly hit by Bhagyashree's car in Santacruz months ago
Santacruz resident Mohammed Nausif Shaikh, who was allegedly hit by Bhagyashree's car in Santacruz months ago

Settlement attempt
A few hours later, Bhagyashree's husband Himalaya Dasani and his associate Raj Kishan visited Shaikh in the hospital. "Dasani told me that his wife was driving the car," Shaikh had said in the FIR.

As there was no orthopaedic doctor available at the hospital, Shaikh went to Holycross hospital, where Dasani and Kishan followed him. Dasani requested Shaikh not to lodge a police complaint against his wife and promised to bear his treatment expenses. He deposited Rs 25,000 in Shaikh's account, the FIR states.

Bhagyashree's husband Himalaya Dasani has claimed their driver was behind the wheel and that the victim is trying to blackmail them
Bhagyashree's husband Himalaya Dasani has claimed their driver was behind the wheel and that the victim is trying to blackmail them

A fracture in the left leg was found in an X-ray, and on November 3, Shaikh was operated on. After discharge on November 7, Shaikh called up Dasani and asked him for the rest of the money for the treatment as promised. Dasani, Shaikh stated in his complaint, told him that he knows an orthopaedic doctor and gave him Kishan's number. But when Shaikh failed to get a response on it, he felt deceived and lodged a complaint on December 19, 2016.

Blind eye to hit-and-run
It has been alleged that the police registered a weak case and didn't invoke sections 134 A (duty of driver in case of accident and injury to a person) and B (give on demand by a police officer any information required by him, or, if no police officer is present, report the circumstances of the occurrence) of the Motor Vehicles Act despite the actress allegedly driving away from the spot and not helping the victim or informing the police.

Senior inspector of Santacruz police station Shantanu Pawar said, "The actress's husband had gone to the hospital and helped him. We don't know what settlement, if any, took place between them; it doesn't concern our probe. We have kept our options open for invoking additional sections as facts emerge during the course of the investigation."

'It wasn't her'
When asked why there had been little progress in the case, Pawar claimed the police have recorded the actress's statement in which she's said that it was not she who was driving the car, it was her driver. When he was told that Shaikh had claimed that Dasani had admitted in the hospital that Bhagyashree was behind the wheel, he added, "The complainant didn't tell us this."

The police, however, evaded the fact that Shaikh had mentioned this in his complaint. Neither Bhagyashree nor her driver has been arrested so far.

The police also claimed that they didn't find any CCTV camera that had captured the incident, even though the accident had taken place on the busy SV Road during the day. A sub-inspector also said that investigators had failed to find any witness in the case so far.

When contacted, Shaikh refused to talk on the case.

The other side
Dasani rubbished Shaikh's allegations and said, "The driver was driving. The complainant is trying to blackmail us. We have a letter from him stating that he took help from us. We have enough evidence, including call recordings, to prove that he's trying to extort money from us. We had paid him in the hospital. Media should not encourage such kind of people. We are going to file a case of blackmailing and extortion against him soon."

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