The Oshiwara police have sought a cause-of-death report and legal opinion to find if they can add new charges in the case of Charu Khandal, 33, the lead animator of Shah Rukh Khan’s 2011 movie RaOne, who died on January 17 this year after an alleged drink-driving accident in March 2012 left her grievously injured.
Senior police inspector Subhash Khanvilkar of Oshiwara police station said, “It’s a rare case. We have sought the opinion of legal experts. We have also asked for the cause-of-death report of Khandal. We will have to ascertain if the cause of her death can be co-related to the injuries caused by the accident. We will take appropriate action.”
The incident had occurred in the wee hours of Sunday around 1am, when Khandal was returning home in an auto rickshaw with her sister, Ritu, and friend Vikrant Goyal. They were returning from a party. The accident took place on the same day when the film won the national award for best special effects.
The accident occurred near Shreejee restaurant in Andheri (West). A Honda city car driven by Manoj Gautam,44, who was alleged to be drunk at the time of the accident, crashed into the auto rickshaw.
Charu sustained serious injuries to her spine and was left paralyzed. The injuries ultimately resulted in Charu becoming a quadriplegic and her coming back to her hometown, Jaipur, in 2014.
Gautam was charged under Indian Penal Code sections 279 (rash driving or riding on a public way), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and section 185 (drunk driving) of the Motor Vehicles Act. The maximum punishment under these charges is two years’ imprisonment.
Gautam was arrested and granted bail on March 25, 2012. The matter has seen several adjournments over the years, and the first witness is yet to be examined.
Charu’s sister Ritu said the family had stopped pursuing the case after they moved to Jaipur. “Our entire family was engaged in taking care of her and that is the reason none of us took up the legal case seriously . We will take it up now,” she said.
“These five years were extremely tough for us, but the only thing that kept us going was the never-give-up spirit of Charu. Till the time she was hospitalised last, she hoped that one day she would be able to walk again,” said Ashok Khandal.
Khandla passed away on Tuesday after suffering multiple infections. The 33-year-old would also avidly follow all the medical innovations on the internet to find any possible cure of her condition and would also notify the doctors about them, said her family.
Khandal’s father also thanked Shah Rukh Khan for his moral support to the family. “The actor gave us every type of moral support which was possible and we thank him for that,” said Ashok Khandal.
Also read: ‘It was Charu, who kept us going’