An assistant commissioner of police (ACP), who allegedly forced a Pune-based film producer to sell his house in order to settle dues owed to one of his financers, was granted anticipatory bail on Tuesday.
Justice RC Chavan of the Bombay high court granted pre-arrest bail to both ACP Pradeep Babar and financer, Amey Joshi, at whose behest the police officer allegedly acted and purportedly detained the film producer Vishal Bhandari illegally.
The duo has also been charged with forcing the film producer to handover four signed cheques and extortion.
According to the FIR lodged by Vishram Baug police station on October 13, 2010, Joshi had given Bhandari Rs19 lakh to produce a Hindi film.
Eventually a Marathi film was produced which did not do good business and therefore, many investors could not get any return out of their investment.
Joshi, as alleged in the complaint, approached Babar.
The duo then compelled Bhandari to write a memorandum of understanding and forced him to handover four signed cheques.
Thereafter, the film producer was allegedly taken to Chatursinghi police station, where he was coerced into selling his flat and repaying Joshi’s dues.
Vishram Baug police had registered the FIR only after the high court intervened by acting on a petition filed by Bhandari.
“If the complaint discloses a cognisable offence, the police has no option but to register an first information report (FIR) unless the case comes under the excepted category,” the bench had observed while directing concerned deputy commissioner of police to register offence against the ACP and the film financer.
Initially the police had taken a stand that Bhandari’s complaint was of the civil nature and therefore fell in “exceptional” category.
The earlier bench, however, held it disclosed cognisable offence, which left the police with no option but to register an FIR against the two.