| Gustad: Facing heat
Mumbai, June 3: Nadia Khan’s family wants filmmaker Kaizad Gustad to pay for hiding the truth about her death.
The family, based in London, today made an impassioned appeal for justice and hired well-known lawyers Usha Purohit and Rajendra Shirodkar to fight the case in a Mumbai court.
Nadia was killed on May 25 by a passing train on the sets of Gustad’s Mumbai Central where she was working as assistant director.
Now in lock-up and charged with culpable homicide — a crime that stipulates 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment — Gustad had told hospital authorities, police and even Nadia’s family she was killed in a road accident.
Gustad and his second-in-command Ashish Udeshi, who has also been arrested, claim they lied only to avoid complex government procedures and ensure quick medical attention for Nadia.
The duo spent a sleepless night in the Mumbai Central police station lock-up complaining of heat and humidity, a constable on duty said.
Gustad’s pleas for special food and a bigger room were refused.
Police did not allow Ayesha Shroff, the wife of Jackie Shroff and co-producer of Mumbai Centra, to bring refrigerated water either.
Ruby Rizvi, Nadia’s elder sister, has been in touch with her friends and contacts in India — some of whom like Hema Deora, mother of MP Milind Deora, are powerful people — to push the case.
A statement released by the family said: “We, the family of Nadia Nazir Khan, are releasing this brief statement to help you understand some of the core facts surrounding the most shocking death of our family member Nadia Khan, and the massive scheme hatched and executed by Kaizad Gustad, the director and producer of Mumbai Central, and his partners to cover up the real facts from the family, the Government of India and the British Consulate.’’
The family says Gustad “managed to get (Nadia’s) body out of India illegally through a web of misrepresentations, fabrications and outright unlawful actions and consequently obstructed justice…We were told that a car hit her when she had gotten out to buy something. We were all extremely devastated by the news of Nadia’s death.’’
“Kaizad lied all the time to cover up the story …. It has been a massive cover-up to save his back. The Govt. of India MUST conduct a criminal investigation into his criminal actions.”
It is a concern shared by some within Gustad’s own unit. Costume designer for Mumbai Central Shruti Desai today resigned from the project.
In a letter to Gustad, she said he was indifferent and insensitive towards Nadia’s death. Two other key members — director of photography Shankar Raman and director of sound Vinod Subramanian — have already left on “moral grounds”.
Most of the film’s crew deposed before police through the day.
Sources said Darshana Waiti, the constable arrested for corroborating Gustad’s version, had allegedly been bribed Rs 200 to lie.
She is out on bail now, but her promotion from sipahi to naik, granted just a day before the accident, now stands cancelled.