The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
Fiction stains film-set tragedy
- Gustad accused of misleading police on death of assistant

Mumbai, May 31: First, Boom went bust. Now, there is blood on the tracks of Mumbai Central.

Maverick filmmaker Kaizad Gustad is in trouble for misleading police about the death of assistant director Nadia Khan during a shoot along the Mahalaxmi station rail tracks. The 27-year-old, assisting him in his latest film Mumbai Central, was a British national.

Nadia was apparently hit by a speeding train when she was on the tracks with a camera during a shoot last Tuesday. She was rushed to hospital bleeding heavily but succumbed to injury.

Gustad — for reasons best known to him —however told the police that Nadia had died in a road accident. In a first information report lodged at Tardeo police station, his associate Ashish Udeshi said it was a hit-and-run case.

“Nadia got off her vehicle at Rakhangi Square on E. Moses Road near Mahalaxmi and was trying to cross the road in order to buy something, when a speeding vehicle hit her,” the FIR said.

The gun turned on Gustad after some members of his unit blew the whistle on him. They told the police the mishap that killed Nadia had actually occurred along the rail tracks.

The Government Railway Police added fuel to the fire, claiming Gustad had not taken permission to shoot at Mahalaxmi. Western Railway’s chief PRO Shailendra Kumar said he had been allowed to shoot on the western line “but no shooting was scheduled near Mahalaxmi station that day”.

Gustad is in trouble with Nadia’s relatives in London, too. After getting to know the actual cause of her death, they have threatened to sue him. The director, who had flown to London to hand over Nadia’s body, had fed them the road accident story as well.

Preliminary investigations have revealed that Nadia died in a train accident. The police are contemplating action against Gustad and his crew for “lodging a false complaint’’ and tampering with evidence.

“We are transferring the investigations to the Government Railway Police and will take action against those who filed a false complaint,’’ Ahmed Javed, joint police commissioner (law and order), said.

Gustad, who had to accompany the police for inspection of the rail tracks, said he would clarify his statement soon. Some members of his crew said the FIR mentioned a road accident because “we felt road accidents would be investigated more promptly”.

But police are incredulous. “It is quite surprising why they changed the entire version. I really don’t see any need for it. This has only added to the suspicion,’’ a senior officer said. Fresh depositions will have to be made as “the old story just doesn’t stand”.

Gustad and his team could be booked under Section 211 (registration of false complaint) and Section 182 (fabrication of evidence) of the Indian Penal Code. He could have been questioned for murder had witnesses not told the police the actual sequence of events.

Email This Page