In Bollywood, there’s perhaps no actor who’s as passionate about biking as John Abraham. John has always been fascinated by high-end bikes and also owns many of them. His passion for it extended to the screen as well with Dhoom, where John was seen racing past Abhishek Bachchan in what Bollywood loved to call a ‘super-bike’. The film went on to establish John as the original biker boy with a penchant for high-end speed biking. But even as the super-bike established him as the poster boy for biking enthusiasts all over India, it also went on to give the actor the biggest lesson of his life. Yes, a small mistake and a moment’s misjudgement landed the politically correct star in one of the biggest crisis of his life. The accident, the subsequent developments and the after-effects were never reported properly in the media because the case dragged on for more than six years.
What happened that day?
Day: Saturday, April 8th, 2006. Place: Carter Road; Time: Midnight
John stepped out of his house to indulge in his favourite activity of taking a spin on his Yamaha 1100 cc motorbike on Carter Road around midnight. Anybody staying in Bandra knows that this is the norm in that area. The residents are greeted with screeching sounds of bike enthusiasts burning some rubber on Carter Road from late night to the wee hours of the morning. The police raids and the crackdowns on speeding have not been able to curb rash driving on the road as it has now become a part of Bandra’s youth culture. So, John was not doing anything out of the ordinary that night. He was swerving towards Carter Road from Khar-Danda when suddenly two cyclists came in front of him. Both the teenagers — Shyam Kasbe and Tanmay Majhi — who didn’t spot the bike from a distance. John tried to avoid the crash, but lost control eventually. His bike hit the two boys while he was flung on opposite side of the road due to the impact. John fell on the right pavement and hit his head. He had deep cuts below his right knee as it was pinned under the heavy bike. The boys too had gashes on their knees and elbows. In spite of his own injuries, being a responsible citizen, John, flagged down an auto-rickshaw and took the two boys to the nearby Bhabha hospital where all the three of them were treated for external injuries. When the boys were discharged from the hospital after an hour or so, John went and got himself admitted to Lilavati hospital for further treatment. As per reports, he received four stitches on his leg because of the cut as the MRI had ruled out any internal injuries. Though initially, the news was reported as John getting injured in a bike accident, the police soon got a whiff of the situation and wasted no time in lodging a FIR of negligent and rash driving against the actor the next day.
They took the statements of both the boys and seized the actor’s bike. Here is the picture of John’s bike at the Khar police station a day after the accident.
On the surface of it, it was not a big accident as all the three had escaped with just cuts and bruises. But the case took on a bigger proportion since the man involved in the accident was an emerging Bollywood superstar. The worse happened when the case came up for hearing at the lower court and John was awarded a simple jail-term of 15-days for rash and negligent driving. This is when the news really caught on in the media and spread like wildfire. Even though John kept attending most of the hearings, the court didn’t show him any mercy. Till the very end, the court maintained that he had been rash and negligent while driving his bike. The case carried on for four years. But his worst nightmares eventually came true — the lower court sentenced him to 15-days in jail. A stunned John immediately went and appealed to the Sessions court against the order. The second order came around October 2011 and it upheld the earlier order. The court asked John to go to jail and the police took him into custody. John took his appeal to the Bombay High Court immediately. The Bombay High Court too held that he be held guilty, but took a lenient view in its order that was delivered on March 2012. The court released him on bail and a surety. The two boys submitted an affidavit that they have no grudges against the actor.
Here is the news report of John getting bail from the court.
In the end, John managed to wriggle out of the legal battle that had almost sent him into jail. The actor was perhaps made to pay a heavy price for losing control of his bike simply because he was a celebrity. If you go to Bandra even today you will find that scores of cases like these are sorted out simply by paying a few thousands of rupees. But John — since he was John Abraham — had to travel through every nook and corner of the complex legal system of India. John’s friends insist that the incident has scarred him so badly that he does step out for his midnight jaunts.
I used to stay near Carter Road in Bandra and I don’t recall seeing John even once in the last five years stepping out for his ride after dinner. John is not a late-night bike rider anymore. His friends say that John only rides in ‘controlled environments’.
We b et many of you didn’t know about this incident that happened with John!