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

Purchase data shows growth up

  • Reuters, Bangalore
  • |
  • Updated: May 02, 2012 22:16 IST

The pace of growth in India’s factory sector inched up in April, supported by bulging order books, but slower output growth and increasing price pressures dampened sentiment, a business survey showed on Wednesday.


The HSBC India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), compiled by Markit, rose to 54.9 in April from 54.7 in March.

The index has remained above the 50-mark that divides growth from contraction for more than three years.

“Activity in the manufacturing sector expanded at a slightly faster pace in April,” said Leif Eskesen, chief economist for India & ASEAN at HSBC.  “While output growth moderated ... new orders continued to pour in, including for exports.”

The new orders sub-index rose to 61.1 in April after falling to 58.1 in March, buoyed by strong exports, but while remaining solidly above 50 the factory output index fell for the third straight month.

However, actual industrial output data is painting a bleaker picture with the country posting sluggish factory production growth of 4.1% in February from a year ago, way below the 6.6% expected by analysts.

That does not bode well for Asia’s third largest economy as factory output accounts for roughly 15% of gross domestic product (GDP).

Last month economists cut their GDP forecasts for the fifth straight quarterly Reuters poll and now expect growth to average 7.1% in the fiscal year to March 2013. The government is more optimistic, expecting the economy to grow 7.6% in the same period.

 

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