The father of the two-year-old girl who died in a road accident involving Hema Malini has said she could have been saved if she was rushed to the hospital along with the BJP parliamentarian immediately after the fatal crash in Rajasthan's Dausa district.
"My little girl died in the lap of her mother in the car. It is sad that her mother is also struggling for survival. . .and she does not know that Sonam is no more," Hanuman Khandelwal, the father of Sonam, told reporters as he lay injured at SMS Hospital.
Sonam was killed and her father, mother Shikha, brother Somil and Khandelwal’s sister-in-law Seema were injured when their car and Hema Malini's Mercedes collided on Thursday night.
Khandelwal said for about "20 to 25 minutes our family of five" lay bleeding on the road in the smashed car as a doctor took Hema Malini and others in his car to Jaipur's Fortis Hospital.
"We all were attended by Dausa Police, and the hospital (was in a) poor condition to tackle our injuries," he said.
Khandelwal said though his wife had gained consciousness, she had not been told of her daughter’s death. He said, "We convinced her that both girls were being treated."
Shikha and Seema are being treated in the poly-trauma ward while Somil is in a serious condition in the intensive care unit.
Car crash victims protest 'lavish attention' to Hema Malini
Sonam's uncle Shirish Gupta said: "Hema Malini was taken to a hospital in Dausa by a doctor immediately after the incident. He then took her to Fortis Hospital while Sonam was lying at the spot for 15 to 20 minutes. Nobody asked about her.
"Had she (Sonam) been taken to the hospital along with Hema Malini, she would have been saved," Gupta said.
Relatives of the family said they could afford their treatment and are not looking for any compensation from the government.
The media has been focussing on the injuries of Hema Malini while no one came to us, they said.
"The actress's car was being driven on the wrong side (of the road and) that led to the mishap. Had all five of the injured been admitted to a private hospital, they would have been better now," a relative said on condition of anonymity.
Khandelwal has filed a complaint at Kotwali police station in Dausa against Ramesh Chand Thakur, who was driving Hema Malini's car when the accident occurred in Dausa, 60 km from Rajasthan’s capital Jaipur. Thakur was arrested and later granted bail by a court.
BJP leader Hema Malini expressed "deep sorrow" over the death of the child, hours after she was accused of not showing concern. She said that the news of the infant's death left her "very sad and in a distressed mind."
"I can realise the hard time the family is facing after her death. I pray to God to give them strength to bear this loss," she said.
The 66-year-old actress-turned-politician underwent surgery for her wounds at Fortis Hospital and is doing fine, doctors attending to her said. She was also treated for a minor fracture on her nose.
(With inputs from Agencies)