Mumbai police have booked Bollywood singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya for allegedly molesting and abusing a 34-year-old woman during Durga Puja celebrations at the Lokhandwala Durga Pandal in Andheri (Mumbai). Abhijeet is one of the organisers of the event.
Police sources said the incident happened when the pandal was hosting singer Kailash Kher’s concert . According to the FIR registered at Oshiwara police station, Abhijeet touched the complainant inappropriately while the concert was going on and allegedly abused her, before throwing her out of the pandal.
Senior police inspector of Oshiwara police station Subhash Khanvilkar said the complainant who was seated initially stood up from her seat to see Kailash Kher perform as there was a lot of crowd in the pandal. She allegedley “blocked the view of others” sitting behind her. “Abhijeet, who is among the organisers, went and tapped her and asked her to sit, which led to an argument. After this he called women volunteers, who took her to a cabin which led to heated arguments. The woman felt humiliated and filed an FIR. We are verifying facts, and we will check the CCTV footage from the pandal to ascertain the facts,” said Khanvilkar.
Reacting to the development, Abhijeet told Hindustan Times, “A huge crowd had gathered on Wednesday night. Police had asked us to ensure that there should be no chaos, as there were chances of a stampede, or else they were to stop the show. Whosoever was creating nuisance we were asking them to leave.”
Abhijeet further said that he was handling everything and was also controlling the crowd. “She kept threatening me she would go to the media,” adding the police was present there when the incident happened. “I did what I did to control the crowd and had not intentions to do anything else, for me the show was more important as it takes place every year,” said Abhijeet.
When contacted, Abhijeet told PTI in a text message that filing of the complaint against him was “handiwork of anti-Hindu forces” which he was well aware of. “It’s crowd management. Police and security do their job. Gate crash and nuisance is the main factor,” he said. “Everyone is so happy with us because we entertain every one in our Puja. But the main point is we were aware of anti Hindu forces/ terrorist threats and sabotage of this Hindu Durga Puja and that is working well for them,” the singer said.
“While trying to move away the victim from where she stood up, Abhijeet allegedly touched and caught her inappropriately,” he said quoting a complaint filed by the victim. On the basis of the victim’s complaint, an offence under IPC sections of 354 (a) (sexual harassment), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) and 34 was registered against the singer in the wee hours today, he told Hindustan Times.
“We have started an investigation into the case,” the police officer said. Khanvilkar, however, said there is no need to summon to the singer immediately before the police complete the preliminary investigation.
Abhijeet, once a popular singer, is now known best for his insensitive comments. Be it calling the victims of hit-and-run accident ‘dogs’ (regarding Salman Khan’s case) or his expert comment on Yakub Memon’s hanging , Abhijeet has been showcasing his ‘talent ’ quite fearlessly on Twitter. Earlier, Abhijeet courted controversy in May this year when, in a series of tweets, he said that roads are meant for cars and dogs and not for people to sleep on, while coming out in support of superstar Salman Khan after the latter’s conviction in the 2002 hit-and-run case.
Replying to a tweet by filmmaker and CBFC member Ashoke Pandit regarding the recent FIR, Abhijeet wrote on Friday morning, “Yes it’s sabotage, our security agency and admin who are handling the crowd well .. Can’t make every 1 happy.”
Yes it's sabotage, our security agency and admin who are handling the crowd well .. Can't make every 1 happy https://t.co/stdQc206e1— abhijeet (@abhijeetsinger) October 23, 2015
Pandit had written in his tweet: “Lokhandwala #DurgaPooja is one of the most well organised event by @abhijeetsinger & no one cn sabotage it,” adding a link to the news of the FIR.