Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Executive wrongly charged, didn’t fulfil Pocso conditions on bad touch: Lawyer

Mumbai: In a packed Dindoshi courtroom on Monday, the prosecutor sought 14 days' police custody of entertainment executive Vikas Sachdeva (39), charged with in-flight sexual assault on a minor.
"He purposely put a foot on the minor. With his right foot he rubbed her back and neck. She screamed at him to sit properly, but it continued," prosecutor Munna Inamdar said before woman Special Judge A D Deo.
Arguing for Sachdeva, advocate Harminder Anand said, "His economy class ticket was upgraded to business class. He didn't know who was sitting in front of him. My client has been falsely implicated, may be for publicity... The actor and her mother never complained to crew or airport authorities. Her Instagram clip shows that his left foot was on the window and doesn't mention anything about his right foot. For the first time, remand application mentions his left foot being on the armrest and the right foot being scrubbed on the back and neck... It appears to be an afterthought by a legal mind as the minor first said she was not interested in filing any complain."
Anand said the accused was returning to Mumbai the same day he went to Delhi where an uncle had died. "He told the crew to not disturb him for water or food as he wanted to sleep. He asked for a blanket and slept. He was in mental agony. He has no criminal record... Is his dignity not important? If a sleeping man puts his leg on an armrest, it's not sexual assault."
The judge observed that the "minor victim" has "crossed 17 years of age". She noted Anand's arguments that there were "no allegations about touch of body parts as mentioned under section 7 of Pocso Act. Anand argued that section 7 has been wrongly applied. He said the section describes sexual assault as an offence where particular private parts are touched, and not neck and back as the police say. "The FIR doesn't allege that body parts mentioned in the Act were touched," he said. "There is no allegation of 'sexual intent'."
12/12/17 Swati Deshpande/Times of India