Mumbai: Police will record statements of witnesses before summoning Nana Patekar and three others in connection with a complaint of sexual harassment filed by actor Tanushree Dutta, an official said Thursday. Dutta has accused Patekar of touching her inappropriately on the sets of a Bollywood film in 2008.
The investigation is at a preliminary stage. Since it is a 10-year-old case, police need to verify all the facts first, the official, privy to the probe, said. “As part of the probe, we will record statements of all witnesses related to the case before summoning the accused,” he said.
In a complaint filed last Saturday, Dutta alleged that during the shooting of a song sequence for “Horn OK Pleassss”, she was inappropriately touched by Patekar even after she had clearly mentioned that she will not perform lewd, vulgar or uncomfortable steps.
Dutta had also claimed that she had complained to the song’s choreographer Ganesh Acharya, but she was forced to do scenes which were intimate and included Patekar touching her inappropriately. Based on her complaint, a case was registered Wednesday night at the suburban Oshiwara Police Station against Patekar, Acharya, the film’s producer Samee Siddiqui and director Rakesh Sarang.
Offences have been registered against them under IPC section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman), the official said, adding that no arrest has been made so far. Meanwhile, a group of women activists staged a protest outside the Oshiwara Police Station, demanding proper investigation into the case and arrest of Patekar, if the allegations against him were found to be correct.
After Dutta had decided to walk out of the film in 2008, her car was vandalised by goons who, she alleged, were from the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). The Maharashtra State Commission for Women had Tuesday issued notices to Patekar, Siddiqui, Acharya and Sarang. The commission also wrote to Mumbai police, seeking information on the action it had taken on Dutta’s complaint. Patekar has denied he misbehaved with Dutta on the sets of the film, calling her claims a “lie”.
The 67-year-old actor’s lawyer has sent a legal notice to Dutta.