A magistrate court, on Monday, cleared the decks for prosecution of film-maker Madhur Bhandarkar in a case filed by actress Preeti Jain, who alleged that Bhandarkar raped her several times over a span of five years. Jain had filed a complaint with the court over seven years ago.
The court issued process [first step for initiating trial against a person]against Bhandarkar and asked him to file his reply on October 18."The court has taken cognisance of Jain's complaint after observing that, prima facie, a case of rape and criminal intimidation has been made out against Bhandarkar," said Jain's advocate Sushan Kunjuraman.
Reacting to the court's decision, Bhandarkar said: "As the lower court has issued a process against me today for a case which has been going on for seven years, I would like to state here, after reading the judgment, that we will challenge this order in higher courts."
Responding to allegations made by Jain that he had made false promises of casting the actress in a lead role in his film, Bhandarkar said that on July 12, 2004, Jain sent him a legal notice.
The notice stated that if she was not cast as the leading lady in his film within 48 hours of receiving the notice, she would adopt necessary proceedings against Bhandarkar for cheating, cohabitation caused by a man deceitfully inducing a belief of lawful marriage and criminal intimidation. "However, there was no mention of a rape charges in that notice," said Bhandarkar.