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HomeEntertainmentMeToo: Why Tanushree's allegation against Nana couldn't stand police scrutiny

MeToo: Why Tanushree’s allegation against Nana couldn’t stand police scrutiny

How actress Tanushree Dutta's allegation of #MeToo against Nana Patekar and witnesses to the alleged incident did not add up according to Mumbai Police

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Mumbai: Mumbai Police filed a closure report in a court in Mumbai on 13 June, saying they could not find enough evidence that supported the “MeToo” allegation on Nana Patekar by actress Tanushree Dutta. But details of how the police arrived at the conclusion have just reached the media. Micro-blogging site Twitter not only accorded the phrase a special status with the hashtag as #MeToo but also made its equivalent Indian chapter #MeTooIndia after Tanushree Dutta launched the so-called in the country.

Tanushree Dutta, who featured in a 2008 film titled Horn OK Pleassss, had alleged last year that the sequence of shots was changed during the shooting, at the behest of Nana Patekar or which the latter took advantage of.

Dutta had alleged further that during the shooting of the song sequence, Patekar touched her inappropriately even after she had clearly mentioned that she would not perform lewd, vulgar or uncomfortable steps.

But in the course of the investigation, witnesses told the police that Tanushree was aware of changes in the sequence well in advance. Mumbai Police has filed this in its closure report.

Nana has denied the charges whenever confronted with the question. His account of what transpired at the set of Horn OK Pleassss has been consistent over the years.

“All allegations against my client Nana Patekar were false since the inception. Truth has the tendency to surface no matter how much one may want to suppress it. My client is innocent and justice will be served,” Aniket Nikam, Nana’s lawyer, said.

The FIR of 2018 accused director Rakesh Sarang, choreographer Ganesh Acharya and producer Sami Siddiqui for being witnesses to the alleged incident of Nana harassing Tanushree and not taking a stand.

Following Dutta’s complaint, the case had been registered at Oshiwara Police Station. Sarang, Acharya and Siddiqui are among the witnesses the police examined. The accused were booked under Indian Penal Code Sections 354 (assault or criminal force to with intent to outrage her modesty) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman).

But the complaint that Tanushree had lodged in 2008 had no mention of sexual harassment, the police report says.

The police report reads: “She (Tanushree) had narrated in her complaint that she was not aware of the changes in the sequence and that Nana Patekar would be a part of that song. According to the statements of the witnesses, this is not true. She was aware of the change made.”

None of the reports filed before the one registered in October 2018 mentioned any sexual harassment, the police report states.

“There was no mention of sexual harassment in the complaint made in 2008 in Goregaon police station. Also, there was no mention of Sexual misconduct in the complaints filed with CINTAA and TV Producers associations,” the statement read.

The complaints that CINTAA and TV Producer’s Association had registered were about dues. These dues were settled following more meetings for reconciliation conducted within the Bollywood industry.

“Those complaints were regarding the dues and was settled in subsequent meetings of these associations and was accepted by all concerned parties in a joint meeting of CINTAA and TV Producer’s association,” the police report says.

Mumbai Police filed a B Summary report in this case. When the police cannot find evidence in support of a complaint and are, therefore, unable to continue the investigation, it is called a “B Summary” case. The suburban Mumbai police filed the report before a metropolitan magistrate in Andheri.

She launched ‘MeToo’ in India

Dutta had set off the MeToo in India last year when she accused Nana Patekar of sexually harassing her during the shooting of their 2009 film Horn OK Pleassss.

Dutta had made a similar allegation against filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri who, she claimed, had sexually harassed her during the shooting of Chocolate. Acharya, a witness in the Nana case, had debunked Dutta’s allegation in Agnihotri’s case as well. Other crew members of Chocolate, too, said nothing of the sort Dutta alleges had happened at the set.

After Tanushree, several women came forward to complain of sexual harassments at the hands of their respective seniors at the workplace that allegedly happened a decade or two ago.

From the entertainment industry, prominent names that appeared as accused were of Vikas Bahl of Phantom Films, Utsav Chakraborty of All India Bakchod, director of Housefull 4 Sajid Khan, casting director and first-time film director Mukesh Chhabra of Fox Star Studios, actor Alok Nath, founder of entertainment talent management agency KWAN Anirban Blah, Tamil poet, lyricist and author Vairamuthu, actor brothers Salman Khan, Arbaaz Khan, and Sohail Khan, Kannada film actor Arjun Sarja and music composer Anu Malik.

From the world of news, journalists named included MJ Akbar (then serving as MoS in the Ministry of External Affairs), Vinod Dua while he was working with The Wire, Prashant Jha who was with Hindustan Times, KR Sreenivas of The Times of India, Gaurav Sawant of India Today, etc.

NSUI president Fairoz Khan had to step down from his post in the Congress’s student union.

None lesser than Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi faced a MeToo allegation, which was dismissed by a bench of Supreme Court judges.

So far, none of the cases has led to a court of law declaring the accused guilty.

Tanushree sticks to revised charges

Reacting to the development, Tanushree deplored the police act of giving a clean chit to Patekar. She claimed witnesses “have been silenced by intimidation.”

“A corrupt police force and legal system giving a clean chit to an even more corrupt person Nana who has been accused even in the past of bullying, intimidation and harassment by several women in the film industry,” Tanushree said.

Mumbai Police has but been categorical in its statement that none of the 13 eyewitnesses examined mentioned any incident of sexual harassment.

However, Dutta’s lawyer is still waiting for a copy of the police report. “We haven’t yet received any official communication from the police yet. However, we will challenge the closure report.”, Dutta’s lawyer, Nitin Satpute, said.

When the investigations into this MeToo allegation were on, Satpute had said that the right witnesses had not been brought forward.

Ulterior motive behind the allegation?

After the news of Dutta’s allegations broke last year, Nana Patekar, Vivek Agnihotri and even the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) slapped her with cases. Dutta had alleged that Nana had hired “goons” of the MNS to smash her car with the intention to intimidate her.

At the same time, many social media users alleged Tanushree was carrying out a sinister campaign at the behest of missionaries as she had converted to Christianity and the person who was supporting her claim was journalist Janice Sequeira. They said she had made uncharitable remarks about Hinduism even when she had not converted. Tanushree denied the charge of conversion.

Those who made the ‘MeToo India’ allegation of a sinister Christian mission included women.

Reacting to the development, Supreme Court lawyer Amitabh Sinha said, “False charges of MeToo, which defame the targeted person for life for no fault of his, must be dealt with strictly by law. It should be a punishable offence.”

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