Monday, 30th October 2017

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#MeToo: Vikas Bahl cleared of sexual harassment charge

Reliance Entertainment says its internal complaints committee cleared him of all charges, Vikas to direct Super 30

By The Telegraph and PTI in New Delhi
  • Published 1.06.19, 2:30 PM
  • Updated 1.06.19, 2:33 PM
  • a min read
Director Vikas Bahl Telegraph file photo

Filmmaker Vikas Bahl has been given a clean chit in the sexual harassment case following an internal inquiry by Reliance Entertainment, which is the producer of his next film Super 30.

The complaint against Bahl by a former employee of Phantom Films, along with Tanushree Dutta's charge of harassment against Nana Patekar, had opened the #MeToo floodgates on the film industry in 2018. 

After the woman's complaint against the director of Queen, the production house Phantom Films, where Bahl was one of the partners with Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane and Madhu Mantena, was dissolved almost overnight.

The woman last year later told a court that she was not willing to pursue legal action against Bahl.

Shibashish Sarkar, the group CEO of Reliance Entertainment said that a report by the internal complaints committee (ICC) of the company had cleared Bahl of all charges. "Yes, it's true that the ICC committee report has exonerated Vikas. With the ICC clearing Vikas Bahl's name, we don't have choice but to reinstate his credit as director of Super 30," Sarkar said in a statement.

The news has already set off extreme reactions on Twitter for and against Bahl. It has also reopened the argument on how to deal with a case when a survivor refuses to pursue legal action against the alleged tormentor after making detailed and damning charges in pubic through the media or social media. 

The development comes months after Kashyap agreed to oversee the post-production work of Super 30, featuring Hrithik Roshan in the lead.

Bahl's lawyer Hitesh Jain said the clean chit "clears the air on him". "It's the end of the story.... I'm happy he has been exonerated," Jain told PTI.

Bahl had filed a defamation suit against Kashyap and Motwane, alleging they made "defamatory, slanderous and baseless allegations" against him because of which he suffered irreversible damage.

When asked what happens to the case now, Jain said: "These are two different matters. The most important matter was to inquire into the allegations which were made. Once you are exonerated from all that, it proves that there was no substance in the complaint. He faced an inquiry and they (committee) came to the conclusion that he is not guilty."