A Singapore-based Indian businessman was at the centre of a controversy on Monday after a woman posted a video on social media accusing him of allegedly trying to touch her inappropriately on a flight last week.
Acting on a complaint by the woman, police arrested the 60-year-old businessman, RK Jhunjhunwala, on January 27 after the flight from Mumbai to Bhubaneswar landed at Biju Patnaik Airport in Bhubaneswar.
On Sunday, the two-minute video – showing Jhunjhunwala slumped in his seat inside the plane, his face partially covered by his hand as the woman shouts at him – went viral on social media.
Jhunjhunwala, whose family lives in Bhubaneswar, refuted the woman’s allegation and said he will file a defamation suit against people tarnishing his image and reputation on social media.
In his defence, the businessman said he touched her hand due to a “jerk” when the plane was landing. “Even though I had not done anything wrong, I had to apologise to her as she made a big issue out of nothing in front of co-passengers. Besides, they shot a video and put it on social networking sites,” Jhunjhunwala told HT.
According to the complaint by the 30-year-old woman, who hails from Bokaro in Jharkhand, Jhunjhunwala sat behind her on the Indigo flight. He allegedly touched her during the flight. She ignored it at first, but when he repeated the act, she said she brought the matter to the attention of the cabin crew.
After the flight landed, Indigo ground staff informed Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel about the matter. Jhunjhunwala was initially detained by the CISF and then handed over to the airport police station.
The police lodged a case against him under Section 354-A of the Indian Penal Code (making physical contact and advances involving unwelcome sexual overtures).
Jhunjhunwala was granted bail at the police station as the flight crew and co-passengers could not be examined. “He has deposited his passport with police and given an undertaking that he will appear for investigation as and when asked. The investigation is on with the police looking at all angles,” said Satyabrata Bhoi, Bhubaneswar’s additional commissioner of police.
The woman could not be reached for comment.
Jhunjhunwala said he was a senior citizen with no criminal record. He said there could be “some ulterior motives” behind the video being posted on social networking sites as it did not include his apology. “I am consulting my lawyer for all legal options,” he said.