Charu Khandal is paralysed indefinitely. The animator and national award winner for Ra.One was seriously injured in an accident on the morning of March 25. Two others with her during the incident too were badly wounded.

The catastrophe occurred when twenty-eight-year-old Charu was returning home in an auto-rickshaw with her sister and friend after a party she had thrown following her success at the national awards. Incidentally, the auto turned turtle and the animator received injuries on her head and spine. The car which struck Charu’s rickshaw was allegedly being driven by a drunk driver then arrested for rash and negligent driving and later released on bail.

Charu’s association with Shah Rukh Khan’s Ra One and a concurrent Facebook campaign to fetch justice for Charu helped bring again into focus the issue of drunk driving and speeding. There has been a rise of 118 per cent in fatal bike accidents over nine years and between 2001 and 2009, the rise in casualties in such mishaps has been 131 per cent.

A Right to Information (RTI) Act query to the Mumbai traffic police revealed that in 2001, 38 people were killed in 38 bike accidents and the number soar to 88 in 83 mishaps in 2009. Between January 2002 and March 2010, an average 72 people were killed every year in two-wheeler accidents. The corresponding rise in four-wheeler fatal accidents is 6.9 per cent and the increase in number of casualties is 6.6 per cent.

In 2001, 396 people were killed in 374 accidents, while in 2009, the fatality rose to 422 in 400 accidents. In case of three-wheelers, the increase in accidents over the same period was about 7.6 per cent. There was a ten per cent decline in accident rates involving other vehicles. Between 2001 and 2009, the number of seriously injured grew by 40 per cent with 511 people seriously injured in 2009 while it was 385 in 2001.

In the case of car accidents, the number increased from 1,146 in 2001 to 1,207 in 2009. The number of people seriously injured in these rose from 1,205 to 1,305. In the case of three-wheelers, the rise in non-fatal accidents involving serious injuries was 5.4 per cent.

The information further revealed that an average 572 people have died every year in road accidents between January 2001 and March 2010.

During the period, a total of 5,324 died in 5,135 mishaps. The traffic department claimed that it had been conducting awareness drives to inculcate better traffic sense and discipline, but the figures proved that much more required to be done.  Last lap On March 31th this year, 18-year-old Shivani Raut died in a car crash, while six others were hospitalised following an accident near an ATM?after the driver lost control and hit a tree before hitting a stationary autorickshaw.  Police sources claim that the friend, 23-year-old Rahul Mishra was driving the car in an inebriated state.  The accident happened near an ATM, after the driver lost control and hit a tree, before ramming straight into a stationary autorikshaw. Rahul Mishra was charged for rash driving, driving under the influence of alcohol and culpable homicide not amounting murder. Mumbai Police, which had registered more than 11,000 drunk driving cases each year since 2008, has registered over 3,000 cases this year and suspended more than 38,000 driving licenses for drunken driving since 2007.

Drunk and Deadly! In 2010, inebriated India-born US national and beautician Nooriya Haveliwala killed two persons. In court, four eye witnesses identified Haveliwala as the accused who was driving the car and ran over people under the influence of alcohol. The figures of drunk and driving instances may well be a lot higher than reported if the authorities actually implemented the law instead of merely concentrating on ‘spot’ detections such as jumping signals or failure to wear helmets.


Who: Salman Khan When:  28th September 2002 Details: Actor Salman Khan had run over some pavement dwellers in Bandra, Mumbai with his Land Cruiser. He surrendered before the Bandra police more than eight hours after the accident. Salman was taken for medical tests while his lawyer secured bail in the Bandra police station. He had driven his jeep over some people sleeping outside American Express Bakery on Hill Road junction in Bandra, Mumbai, killing one and causing serious injuries to three persons. The deceased and the injured were A1 Bakery employees sleeping outside American Express Bakery. According to witnesses, Salman’s car was completely destroyed. After the accident, people gathered at the spot even allegedly beat up the actor, who fled from the spot along with Kamaal Khan.

Who: Ronit Roy When: 28th October 2011 Details: At around 6:30 a.m. while driving his Mercedes on Link Road near Andheri, TV actor Ronit Roy, rammed his car into another injuring three of its four occupants, including an elderly lady. At the time of the accident, Ronit did go out and to help the injured and took them to hospital but all this was done without informing the police. The police arrested him on the victim’s complaint. A court later granted him bail of Rs. 12,000, after being charged under Indian Penal Code Section 279 (rash driving) and 338 (causing grievous injury endangering lives).

Who: Sanjay Dutt When: 3rd October 2011 Details: Last year, returning from Ranbir Kapoor birthday party, Sanjay Dutt, was caught on camera driving his car while under the influence of alcohol. Apparently, Sanjay Dutt got completely drunk and it was birthday boy Ranbir Kapoor who had to come out to drop him near his car. Despite being extremely sloshed, Sanjay insisted his drivers to take a backseat. Sanjay Dutt took the charge of the driver’s seat and drove till his home.

Who: Aditya Pancholi When: July 1999 Details: More than a decade ago, Actor Aditya Pancholi was caught driving his car while under the influence of alcohol. The actor was driving a van that crashed into two policemen patrolling Santacruz on a motorcycle, injuring them. Pancholi was charged under sections 279 and 338 for rash and negligent driving and 185 for driving under the influence of alcohol. He was later released on bail.

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