Filmmaker Kaizad gustad gets jail for assistants death

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Old 26-May-2010
Filmmaker Kaizad gustad gets jail for assistants death

Six years to the day after a woman in filmmaker Kaizad Gustad’s film unit was run over by a local train during a shoot, the director has been found guilty of negligence and has been sentenced to a month in jail.

Mumbai- Exactly six years after 26-yearold British national Nadia Khan died on a railway track at Mahalaxmi railway station on May 25, 2004, filmmaker Kaizad Gustad has been sentenced to a month in jail in connection with her death. Khan was Gustad’s assistant and helping him on a film shoot when she was run over by a suburban train.

Initially, Gustad was booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and even spent time behind bars before being granted bail by the Bombay high court. The original charges levelled against Gustad carried the maximum penalty of 10 years in jail, but he won a major reprieve in January 2009 when a court held that he should only be tried for the lesser charge of a “rash and negligent act’’ .

A Mumbai Central railway court on Tuesday found Gustad guilty under Section 304-A of the Indian Penal Code and sentenced him to a month in jail. He was also slapped with a fine of Rs 75,000. However , the filmmaker may not be behind bars any time soon. Gustad will be out on bail with an opportunity to appeal against the sentence in a higher court.

The prosecution case was that Gustad was culpable in Khan’s death as he had knowledge that anyone on a running track was in danger of being hit by a train; besides, the permission to shoot was only for the tracks not being used that day. It was alleged that initially, Gustad had misled the investigators into believing that Khan was killed in a road accident.

In January 2009, his lawyer, Junaid Shabwani, lined up witnesses who said they did not know why Khan was on the live track at that moment. He said that Khan had herself prepared the call sheet on which it was mentioned that no one should cross the running tracks. Besides, even the cameraman of the film unit said the rehearsal was on track one and that Nadia had no reason to be on track four where the train hit her. Thus the court held that Gustad could be tried only on a lesser charge of negligence and discharged him of culpable homicide.

The railway court examined as many as 35 witnesses before holding Gustad guilty and pronouncing the verdict.

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