The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ayesha faces Nadia death heat

Mumbai, June 11: More people are getting entangled in the web of deceit surrounding the death of assistant director Nadia Khan on a railway track as she worked with Kaizad Gustad on his latest venture, Mumbai Central.

The latest to face the heat is Ayesha Shroff, wife of Jackie Shroff and co-producer of the film. Ayesha, who produced Gustad’s earlier venture Boom, may have some serious explaining to do now that it app- ears she accompanied the film’s crew to Worli police station on May 25.

Four people besides director Gustad are already in trouble over Nadia’s death — the 27-year-old British national was struck dead allegedly by a passing train along a railway line near Mahalaxmi station that the director was not authorised to shoot on.

The film crew, especially line producer Ashish Udeshi who has also been arrested, told Tardeo police (under whose jurisdiction the railway stat- ion falls) and hospital authorities that Nadia died in a road accident.

Another Gustad assistant, Mahalaxmi station master Ashokan and railway police constable Darshana Waiti have also been arrested for corroborating Gustad’s version.

Nadia’s family says Ayesha called them up in London three times, insisting Gustad was innocent and that the assistant director had died “because of her own fault’’.

Ayesha, to whom Nadia’s family was asked to forward an authorisation letter to get her body out of Nair hospital, is believed to have told the assistant director’s relatives that she witnessed the accident.

In a statement, Nadia’s elder sister Huma said: “Ayesha claimed that as the scriptwriter of the film, she was sure that Nadia wasn’t posted near the rail tracks. She called up three times and said Nadia was running along the tracks instead of standing near (the tracks). We don’t know what she has to do with the case but we believe she is hiding the real facts from us and we would like to lodge a complaint against her.”

But a source close to Ayesha said she had taken the initiative to inform Nadia’s family about the mishap. “In fact she (Ayesha) told them that she would extend all help possible. There could have been some misunderstanding with so much coming out in the media about it,’’ she said.

Rajendra Shirodkar, the well-known Mumbai lawyer representing the Khans, said the case should be looked at afresh in the light of the new developments. He will be flying to London to meet Nadia’s family soon.

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