The Bollywood spotlight is currently on actor Sohail Khan and his elder brother Arbaaz, following Sunday's road accident that caused the death of a 70-year-old woman near Mumbai's St Andrews Church in Bandra.
A luxury car owned by Arbaaz Khan was driven by Sohail's driver who reportedly ran the vehicle over the elderly woman that night. Though, none of the actor brothers were on the driver seat when the incident occurred, the police are yet to ascertain if Sohail was present in the car or if it was just his driver Dhananjay Pimple who lost control of the wheel.
Contrary to the brothers' and the drivers' statements, an eye witness, who first reported the incident, claimed that he saw the actor in the car when the tragedy took place at around 11:00 p.m in the suburban district.
The whole controversy has distressed the family, especially actor Sohail Khan, who said he has unnecessarily being dragged in the issue.
"We are not an insensitive family. And it's not a good feeling to be portrayed that way. The driver was alone in the car. It was the driver who caused the very unfortunate accident. He has taken the responsibility it," the Times of India quoted Sohail as saying.
"We are shaken by the whole episode. Who wouldn't be? Are we not human? To be called insensitive when only I know the trauma that my family is going through ever since the accident happened, is very unfair," he added.
The actor further slammed the media for sensationalizing the matter and for portraying the brothers as bad boys. "Why are we being perceived as callous and indifferent? It is sad that such a tragic event has become one more occasion to make us brothers look like reckless adventurers. Our names are being used just because our driver is not a celebrity," he told the publication.
The actor also urged people to think a bit from his and his family's perspective. "It was an accident. A precious human life has been lost. At least give us time to come to terms with the enormity of the tragedy," Sohail said.
"We are sincerely concerned about the situation. What happened should not and must not happen to anyone. Let's make the roads safer for the pedestrians and the drivers," he added.
When quizzed about the same, the brothers' father Salim Khan said that the media is needlessly blowing up the issue since they are celebrities.
"It was an accident and I don't understand why the media is raising speculation," Salim Khan told a national daily. "They need to be fair and objective in their jobs."
"Recently, three young boys aged between17-20, died at Juhu beach, why isn't the media focusing on them today? Unka koi zikr nahi hai.... Why are they highlighting this story so much?" he added.
Keeping up with his claims, Salim Khan also told the daily that though his sons were not involved in the incident, the Khans are willing to bear the victim's last right expenses since they had known her well and have always helped the destitute with food and money.
He said, "It's sad but I wonder why such accidents, where celebrities are involved, are given prominence each time?" adding that "Everyone should be treated equally and you have to deal with every case according to the law. Your job as part of the media, is to report, not give opinions."
"I haven't once commented on Salman's case. I have full faith in the law and I know it will take its own course," Salim Khan continued.
Meanwhile, driver Pimple had surrendered to police and was later released from custody following a bail amount of ₹10,000.