A young animator with Shah Rukh Khan's production house Red Chillies Entertainment, Charu Ashok Khandal, was seriously injured on Sunday after a drunk driver rammed his speeding Honda City into an auto-rickshaw.
Apart from head injuries, the 28-year-old who led the special effects team for RA.One, which recently won the national award, suffered multiple fractures and injuries to her spinal cord, and is currently battling for life at a private hospital.
The accused, Manoj Netrapal Gautam, 39, who works with a shipping company in the city, was arrested, but later released on bail. “We have booked Gautam for rash and negligent driving, causing grievous hurt and for driving under the influence of alcohol,” said senior inspector Dilip Rupawate.
“He was released on a surety of Rs 10,000 on Sunday.”
Medical reports have confirmed that Gautam was driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident.
The incident took place around 1am at Oshiwara in northwest Mumbai when Khandal was returning home in an auto-rickshaw with her sister Mona and friend Vikrant Goyal. The trio were returning from a pub at Juhu Tara Road where they had been celebrating the success of Ra.One.
Such was the impact of the collision the auto-rickshaw driver lost control and the rickshaw turned turtle.
Khandal, who is originally from Jaipur, had arrived in the city two years ago to establish herself in the animation industry. After working with a private animation firm for a while, she had recently joined Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment as a contract animator.
She was to be engaged to her boyfriend Sagar Thakker 10 days later. While Khandal and Goyal both lost consciousness, Mona managed to call Thakker and inform him of the incident. It was Thakker and his friends who rushed them to hospital.
“Charu cannot sense anything from neck down,” said Esha Lepcha, 23, a friend.