Police on Friday arrested BJP lawmaker Hema Malini’s driver, a day after her Mercedes collided with a Maruti Alto in Rajasthan killing a two-year-old girl and leaving the actor and four others injured.

    He was produced in court and later granted bail. Officials said Uttar Pradesh resident Mahesh Thakur, the accused, was facing charges of culpable homicide and causing death by negligence.

    Television footage showed Mathura MP Hema Malini walking away from the spot with blood dripping down her face following the crash on National Highway 11 near Dausa district in the western state.

    The incident brought the spotlight back on India’s dangerous roads where about 200,000 people die every year in traffic accidents, according to WHO data. Last year, Hema Malini’s party colleague Gopinath Munde was killed in a car crash in Delhi nearly a week after the 64-year-old took office as the country’s rural affairs minister.

    While the infant travelling in the Maruti hatchback reportedly died on the spot, her parents, a four-year-old brother and an aunt are undergoing treatment at a government hospital in Jaipur.

    Hema Malini, who was in the back seat of the Mercedes, was admitted to a private medical centre with a nasal fracture and injuries to her forehead, cheeks and legs.

    “A surgery of debridement (removal of damaged tissues) and repair of lacerated wounds was carried out post-midnight,” said Pratim Tambole, facility director at the Fortis hospital. “It was a two-hour long process under general anaesthesia. She is now in post-operative intensive care unit.”

    The 66-year-old actor was going to Jaipur after visiting a temple in Rajasthan’s Karauli district when her car crashed into the Maruti Alto carrying the family headed to Lalsot city.

    Read: After criticism, Hema Malini expresses sorrow over child's death

    Car crash victims protest 'lavish attention' to Hema Malini

Akshay Kumar’s risk pays off

Akshay Kumar

South actors Vijay and Kajal Aggarwal’s Tamil film, Thuppakki, opened to a blockbuster response this Diwali. And back in Bollywood, one person is especially thrilled with the praise the film has garnered. Months before AR Murugadoss’s film had even gone on the floors, Akshay Kumar had already bought the rights to remake it in Hindi. As a result, he bought the rights for only R30 lakh.

“Akshay was in awe of the story the moment he first heard it. So in 2010, he bought the rights even before Thuppakki’s shooting had started. The fact that it is doing well has given him another reason to be happy,” says an insider.

Vijay’s film has got the biggest opening at the box-office in Tamil Nadu and Kerala after Rajinikanth’s Enthiran (Robot; 2010). Akshay, who took a big risk by investing the money before judging the film on its box-office returns, was apparently confident of his decision all along. When contacted, the actor says, “Right now, I can only state that I am happy to be working with Murugadoss in the film.”

To be produced under Akshay’s banner, Hari Om Entertainment, and Vipul Shah’s Sunshine Pictures, the film is expected to go on the floors around January-February 2013. The last Murugadoss film that was remade in Bollywood was Ghajini (2008). It went on to become the first Hindi movie to cross the R100 cr mark at the box-office.


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