Metropolitan Magistrate, 44th Court, Andheri, Mumbai: In a case filed against TVF founder Arunabh Kumar relating to an alleged incident of sexual harassment currently being prosecuted for the offense punishable under Section 354(A) of Penal Code, 1860 (IPC), A I Shaikh, J., acquitted the accused as the prosecution failed to prove the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt.
According to the deposition of the victim, on the day of the incident in the year 2014 (as per few news reports) when she was at her office, the accused called her and misbehaved by putting his hand on her shoulder, breasts and back and asked her “aam khayegi kya”. Interestingly, she chose to remain silent and did not report the matter to the police until 2017 when one article was published on Facebook against the accused regarding inappropriate touch and behaviour. On the same day, 8 to 9 girls came forward and uploaded their stories on Facebook of similar nature. Therefore, she also decided to take some action against the accused. Hence, she lodged the report against the accused.
Based on careful examination of witnesses and other evidence placed on record, the Court noted that there is no concrete evidence produced by the prosecution. There are material discrepancies and contradiction. Even, there is an unreasonable and unexplained delay in filing FIR which raised the clouds on the case of the prosecution. Even it can be said that the said complaint is filed out of grudge or rivalry on the reason of business between the accused and informant. All witnesses are interest witnesses. They are involved in the same industry where the accused also doing the business.
Thus, the Court acquitted the accused and held that the prosecution failed to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt.
[State v. Arunabh Kumar, Serial Number 1547/PW/2017, decided on 12-09-2022]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Mr. Khade, APP for the State;
Mrs. Rohini Wagh, Advocate for the accused.
*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.