A 70-year-old pavement dweller was crushed to death under actor and producer Arbaaz Khan's Land Cruiser car in Mumbai last night. The car was being driven by his brother and actor Sohail Khan's driver, Dhananjaya Pimpale. Neither of the actor's brothers were in the car.
The driver had been arrested but was later released on bail for a surety of Rs 10,000. The police said he had confessed that he lost control of the vehicle while negotiating a turn and hit the elderly woman, Chandra Bala.
Arbaaz's father Salim Khan, and his brothers Salman and Sohail, expressed regret over the death of the woman. "It was most unfortunate. The woman suddenly came in front of the vehicle and fell. The driver immediately applied the brakes and reported the matter to the police," Salim Khan told IANS.
"It's saddening that a lady lost her life when my driver was coming back home. I was at home, I came to know about it after an hour. I was shocked," said actor Sohail Khan.
The accident happened at around 11 pm last night near the St Andrews Church in Bandra. Pimpale, 46, was alone in the car driving towards Arbaaz Khan's home in Galaxy apartments; the police said they received a call at 11.30 pm from an eyewitness, reporting the accident. They said preliminary investigations showed the driver had not been drinking, but a medical report on his blood and urine samples is awaited. The driver has been arrested on various charges, including negligent driving and culpable homicide not amounting to murder. He will be produced in a local court today.
The police said the statement of Arbaaz Khan, who is Bollywood star Salman Khan's younger brother, will be recorded as the car belongs to him.
An autorickshaw driver, who saw the accident happen last night alleged that the car hit the woman and then ran her over, but the driver didn't stop. Another eyewitness said he and a constable rushed the victim to the Bhabha Hospital. "But no doctor was attending to her; half an hour was wasted there. They told us to take the woman out of the hospital," he said. She was later declared dead at the hospital.
An onlooker described the scene at the accident site: "I was just passing by and saw that a woman was lying on the road. She was lying here, bloodied and injured. There were about 150 people gathered there."