Bollywood director faces ten years in jail

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AN INDIAN film director faces a ten-year prison sentence after being charged with the culpable homicide of his British assistant who was hit by a train while filming last week.

Nadia Khan, a 26-year-old film and media graduate from North London University, was shooting for Kaizad Gustad’s film Mumbai Central when a train struck her in Mumbai on 25 May.

Prosecutors said 11 crew members were ordered by Gustad to claim to police and hospital authorities that Khan, from Newbury Park, East London, died in a road accident.

"One crew member listened to his conscience and confessed to the police the next day," said Mumbai’s public prosecutor’s office. "That is why Gustad later came to the police."

The prosecutors said police needed time to investigate why Ms Khan was standing on a railway track where the crew had no permission to shoot, instead of a less busy track for which they had a permit.

Police earlier charged Gustad and Ashish Udeshi, an assistant director, with filing a false police complaint, suppressing information, fabricating evidence and negligence. The charges carry a maximum three-year prison sentence. The magistrate, Usha Iyer, yesterday refused bail and directed police to add the more serious charge of culpable homicide against them.

The magistrate ordered Gustad to remain in police custody until a 10 June court hearing. Gustad said on Tuesday that he welcomed the investigation.

Judge Iyer asked the police: "It is known that a running train can knock down a person, causing death. When the director had this knowledge, why did he allow Nadia to go on the track?"

Ms Khan’s father, Mohammad Mazir Khan, said in London yesterday that the family planned to sue Gustad for negligence.

"He shouldn’t do this to anybody else again," said Mr Khan, 65, a retired businessman. He said when Gustad came to London with the body of his youngest of four daughters, he "lied to us repeatedly. He first said she was run over by a car, then a truck".

After the burial, he told the family she had been hit by a train, Mr Khan said.

Ms Khan saw the job as her first big break in the movies. One of her sisters, Ruby Rizvi, said: "

It was a horrible shock, we all went through the same thing, we started shaking, we couldn’t breathe, it was such a total shock. Then to be lied to about the whole situation. It was a devastating blow, such a violent death."