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Kolkata Demands Justice for Sonika Chauhan, One Candle at a Time

Kolkata: Two months ago, famous Bengali folk singer Kalikaprasad Bhattacharya was killed in a car accident at Gurap on Durgapur Expressway (NH-2) in Hooghly district. The driver of the SUV he was traveling in was booked under section 304 of the IPC (Punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and is behind bars.

Why, then, is Kolkata-based actor Vikram Chatterjee out on bail after being behind the wheels of the car that crashed on April 29, killing actress and TV host Sonika Chauhan? The question has hounded family and friends of the 28-year-old actress ever since Chatterjee walked out with a bandage on his head, surrounded by an army of lawyers, from a city court. The court directed Chatterjee to appear on September 1, the next date of hearing.

“We need answers and we have not got any. She took the decision to trust a friend and trust her life with him at the wheel, why did it go so wrong. It was clearly reckless driving… her life was snatched away,” Sonika’s mother Sharon Singh wrote in a Facebook post. Singh’s post is only one of the many that have sprung on social media after her daughter’s death.

On Monday evening, Chauhan’s friends and family conducted a candlelight vigil in front of Tollygunge police station to demand ‘Justice For Sonika’.

Chauhan’s death has brought the spotlight on the alleged deteriorating state of law and order in West Bengal, with many accusing the investigators in the case of heeding to dirty political games.

“Sonika and I were good friends, and I also know Vikram. It’s disappointing to see that he’s denying the fact that he did indeed consume alcohol,” said actor turned BJP general secretary Locket Chatterjee. She was, however, quick to add that the nexus between Trinamool Congress leaders and Tollywood was very strong.

Sources told News18 that Chatterjee and Chauhan were returning from a party on April 29 when the accident took place. Chauhan was admitted to the hospital with injuries, and was soon discharged. Chauhan, however, soon got himself admitted again. This time, with a battery of lawyers circling around him. Chauhan claimed he was neither drunk nor over speeding, claims which have been countered by those who attended the party with the duo.

Various reports claimed that CCTV footage with the police shows Chauhan, at the party, with a glass in hand. “The Fatal Squad of traffic police is presently investigating the case and appropriate action will be taken against those found guilty. We are planning to question Chatterjee again to know whether he was drunk or not. We have some evidence that suggest he had alcohol,” an investigation officer told News18.

First Published: May 9, 2017, 1:41 PM IST