Actor Vikram Chatterjee on Monday moved Calcutta high court seeking anticipatory bail after an Alipore court last week agreed to a police plea to add culpable homicide charges against him.
Chatterjee’s move comes after consultations with senior criminal lawyers who argue that his May 5 bail by an Alipore CJM was only on the penal sections that initially figured in the FIR.
The FIR lodged after the April 29 death of model Sonika Singh Chauhan had bailable penal sections. Vikram, who had surrendered in court six days after his release from hospital, was granted bail. A month later, however, the police chose to move court seeking to add 304 IPC or culpable homicide not amou-nting to murder against him.
The cops slapped stiffer charges against Vikram on the basis of the crash data retrieval (CDR) report of his car, five judicial testimonies, CCTV footage and seizure of bill payment vouchers.
Senior criminal lawyers consulted by Vikram’s legal team appeared unequivocal in their opinion that nothing stops the cops from arresting Vikram, should they choose so, after the additional charge. Section 304 IPC, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years in jail, is a non-bailable offence. The anticipatory bail route, the experts felt, was the only legal option before him to prevent an arrest. The consultations over the weekend translated into the anticipatory bail plea on Monday.
Though Vikram’s lawyer Rajdeep Majumdar remained unavailable for comment, legal sources said Vikram’s petition challenges the police move to add stronger charges on three primary grounds, the actor’s lack of any criminal animosity towards Sonika being the foremost. “They were more than friends, they were in a relationship,” a source said.
Given the fact that it was an injured Vikram took Sonika to the hospital lends weight to this argument, he added. Intent and knowledge, which are the key ingredients to prove the 304 IPC charge, are also amiss in this case, he argued. Moreover, it was also argued that Vikram had responded to the police summons and was questioned for over eight hours over two days.
It is still not clear whether police will contest the anticipatory bail plea. Cops had indicated that it will seek legal opinion before filing chargesheet.