The case of model Sonika Chauhan's untimely death: 12 developments
Popular model and TV prime time host, Sonika Chauhan was killed while actor Vikram Chatterjee was injured when the SUV in which they were travelling met with an accident in south Kolkata in late April. Police said the SUV mounted the pavement while trying to avoid an approaching car from a nearby lane and partially tilted on one side at around 4:30 am near Rashbehari Avenue crossing in Kolkata.
Vikram and Sonika, who were on the driver's seat and front seat respectively, were brought out from the mangled car by locals and rushed to a private hospital, police said. While Sonika was declared dead, Vikram was admitted to the hospital. A pall of gloom descended as the news of the mishap spread and many Bengali film actors including Dev rushed to the hospital on E M Bypass.
A hospital doctor said Vikram was stable now and shifted to general bed from ICU after CT scan. He had injuries on his head, leg, and other parts of body, the doctor said. Sonika, a popular face in Kolkata and Mumbai modelling circuits, had also been hosting a prime time show on a national channel. Vikram, whose last film Khoj (The Lost) had been screened in several film festivals, had also acted in 'Elar Char Adhyay' and 'Ami Ar Amar Girlfriends'.
Nearly two weeks later Vikram Chatterjee appeared at Tollygunge police station in connection with the probe into the accident that killed his co-passenger, model and TV host Sonika Chauhan, and injured him. Vikram was served a notice by Kolkata Police and he appeared before the investigating officers, who interrogated him for almost an hour. The actor then left the police station.
The release of Vikram Chatterjee's Bengali thriller 'Khoj' was delayed by a week following the car accident that left model Sonika Chauhan dead and the actor injured. Makers decided to defer the film's release by a week, from May 26 to June 2, to enable him to recover from the trauma.
The investigating officers asked Vikram to give them the list of places he and Sonika had visited that night, the source said. Police spoke to a few of Vikram and Sonika's friends in connection with the investigation. Forensic experts had also conducted another set of chemical tests on Vikram's car.
Vikram had surrendered in connection with the accident case involving his car in which actor and model Sonika Chauhan was killed. A city court had granted bail to him on May 5. The Kolkata Police had booked Vikram and started a suo motu case. Sonika's family had lodged a complaint against him also. Later, the cases were tagged.
Sonika Singh's family raised a number of questions regarding the way the case was handled by the Kolkata Police. A 5-hour delay in informing Sonika's parents about her death was questioned. Furthermore, Sonika's belongings were handed over to a friend, who was even asked to try and unlock her phone, instead of her family. The car's forensic test was done 30 hours after the accident. Video showing Vikram Chatterjee's father playing carrom while his son was being interrogated at the police station also seemed unusual. Witness statements were recorded eight days later and most charges filed were bailable. Police came to seize Sonika's blood-stained clothes, cell phone and IDs 11 days later.
In an effort to demand justice for his late daughter, Sonika Chauhan's father, Vijay Singh Chauhan wrote to Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajiv Kumar, requesting a detailed probe into the case. He felt the police failed to adhere to standard operating procedure protocols during investigations following the accident.
In late May, Vikram Chatterjee was charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder for the death of model Sonika Chauhan in the car accident. The actor was previously charged with rash driving (Section 279 of the Indian Penal Code) and causing death by negligence (Section 304A) after the accident, police said. During the previous interrogation, he confessed to having consumed alcohol on the night of the accident, but claimed that he was not drunk and the car was not speeding.
Vikram Chatterjee was arrested on Thursday (July 6), in connection with the death of model-actress Sonika Chauhan, by the Kolkata Police. The television and film actor was arrested after Kolkata Police personnel intercepted a cab outside Acropolis Mall on Rashbehari Avenue connector in south Kolkata midnight last night, a senior Kolkata Police officer said. He will be produced before court. Chatterjee was absconding after the police had charged him in the case.
A court on June 10 sent actor Vikram Chatterjee to 14 days judicial custody, after his arrest in connection with the death of model Sonika Chauhan in the car accident