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‘Tanushree’s claims false’: Cops move to close harassment case against Nana

On Wednesday, the police filed a B-summary report in a metropolitan magistrate court at Andheri, asking to close the case. A B-summary report is filed if the police finds no evidence to substantiate a complaint.

mumbai Updated: Jun 14, 2019 17:00 IST
Aritra Hazra
Aritra Hazra
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Tanushree dutta,nana patekar,MeToo
Dutta’s complaint against Patekar — filed on October 10, 2018 — revived the #MeToo movement in India.(REUTERS/ File photo)

Actor Tanushree Dutta’s sexual harassment allegations against actor Nana Patekar were “false and revengeful in nature ”, the Oshiwara police said on Wednesday, after an important witness, actor Daisy Shah, refuted Dutta’s claims, and several other witnesses did not support her allegations.

On Wednesday, the police filed a B-summary report in a metropolitan magistrate court at Andheri, asking to close the case. A B-summary report is filed if the police finds no evidence to substantiate a complaint.

HT has a copy of the report. If the court accepts the report, the case against Patekar and three others will be closed. Dutta responded, saying she was “tired of fighting alone”, and claimed witnesses had been intimidated.

Patekar had told police that her allegations were false.

The court will give Dutta a chance to speak up against the police’s report.

Dutta’s complaint against Patekar — filed on October 10, 2018 — revived the #MeToo movement in India that saw many more celebrities and public figures being accused of sexual harassment. Dutta had alleged that Patekar had touched her inappropriately while shooting for a song-and-dance sequence on March 26, 2008, on the sets of the film ‘Horn OK Please’.

In her complaint, Dutta said she was initially told the dance would be a solo performance, with only a brief appearance of Patekar.

However, she said Patekar started teaching her the dance steps and pushed and pulled her towards him. Dutta added she complained about the behaviour to the producer, director and choreographer but they only included more of Patekar in the song.

The Oshiwara police then booked Patekar, choreographer Ganesh Acharya, producer Sami Siddhiqui and director Rakesh Sarang under sections 354 (outraging modesty of a woman) and 509 (words, gestures or acts intending to outrage modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code.

In the B-summary report, the police said one of the important witnesses at the studio when the song was being shot was Daisy Shah, who was assisting choreographer Ganesh Acharya. They said Shah — who was helping Dutta practice her steps — told them that Patekar was practising separately and that she never saw him coming close to, or touching, Dutta. Shah added Dutta suddenly left the set during final rehearsals and refused to return.

The producer packed up shoot for the day and Shah left the studio. Shah added she did not hear from anybody else either about Patekar misbehaving with Dutta, the police said.

The report also said none of the 13 other people who purportedly witnessed the incident at Filmistan Studio supported the allegations. The Oshiwara police said they also took note of the fact that Dutta’s father had filed a complaint with the Goregaon police station on March 26, 2008, about a group intimidating the actor and damaging her car after she refused to go ahead with the shooting, but even that complaint did not mention anything about sexual harassment.

Dutta, too, lodged a written complaint with Cine and Television Artists Association in 2008, but the sexual harassment at the studio was not mentioned.

On Thursday, Dutta questioned the timing of the police’s report, and claimed the witnesses had been intimidated. “Our witnesses have been silenced by intimidation and fake witnesses have been put forth to weaken the case,” she said. “What was the rush to file a B-summary report when all my witnesses have not even recorded their statements yet?” Dutta added that she was “tired of fighting alone against oppressors and bullies”. “...but please don’t take this example to mean that you will not be heard when u speak up!”

Dutta’s lawyer Nitin Satpute also said the police had not recorded the statements of several witnesses. “We are going to oppose the report in court, and also file a writ petition before Bombay high court,” Satpute said.

A senior police officer from the Oshiwara police station said they will investigate again if it is found that statements of all witnesses were not recorded.

Patekar had said in his statement to police — which is recorded in the B-summary report — that he and Dutta did not rehearse together. “I have no idea why she said I misbehaved with her. I got shocked by the allegations. There is no iota of truth in her allegations... I have suffered a lot of defamation and mental stress,” he said.

First Published: Jun 14, 2019 02:31 IST