Mumbai News: Bandra's Otters Club Likely To Face Prosecution For Threatening 10-Year-Old Boy In Sexual Assault Case

Mumbai News: Bandra's Otters Club Likely To Face Prosecution For Threatening 10-Year-Old Boy In Sexual Assault Case

The father has approached the Bombay High Court alleging that the disciplinary committee of the club held an internal inquiry and gave a clean chit to the staffer instead of immediately reporting the incident to the police.

Charul Shah JoshiUpdated: Saturday, February 24, 2024, 06:44 PM IST
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Mumbai News: Bandra's Otters Club Likely To Face Prosecution For Threatening 10-Year-Old Boy In Sexual Assault Case | PTI

Mumbai: The Bandra’s elite Otters Club is likely to face prosecution after father of a ten year old boy alleged that he was threatened and pressurised against reporting the incident of sexual assault on his son by a staffer in September last year. The father has approached the Bombay High Court alleging that the disciplinary committee of the club held an internal inquiry and gave a clean chit to the staffer instead of immediately reporting the incident to the police.

As per the case register with the Bandra police station, on September 29, last year, the complainant along with his friends and seven-year-old son had been to Bandra’s posh club having several film stars as its members. Kid’s father, who too has been a member of the club for the last 20 years said that at night his son wanted to eat French fries. Hence the complainant asked his son to go to the kitchen and order the same, while proceeding towards the first floor of the club.

Kitchen employee sexually assaulted him

Later, the complainant claimed that his son came down crying and complained that the accused who was employed with the kitchen sexually assaulted him. Further, the accused also tried to dissuade the kid from informing about the same to the complainant by threatening to not serve him the French Fries if he chose to do so, the complainant claimed.

The complainant confronted about this to the accused and the manager of the catering services. The accused was immediately asked to leave while the president of the club assured that they would act hence on their word, complainant claimed that he did not report the incident to police immediately. However, he in the meanwhile asked for the CCTV footage of the area of that day, which, the complainant claimed was denied by the club.

'The Petitioner was arm-twisted and threatened by the President'

In his petition filed by the complainant through his lawyer Rizwan Merchant and Faiz Merchant, last week, the complainant claimed that, “the Petitioner was arm-twisted and threatened by the President, Disciplinary Committee and the Managing Committee, to not report the issue under the pretext of referring the matter to the POSH Committee, which in fact does not apply to the cases of sexual harassment of a child under POCSO.”

Further, the petition has alleged that, “The Club Disciplinary Committee in order to white-wash the entire case at hand, in collusion and upon instructions passed some factually incorrect findings contrary to the electronic evidence recorded in the CCTV cameras installed in the Kitchen of the club, after allegedly adjudicating upon the issue. Needless to say, that an offence under the POCSO Act can only be adjudicated upon by a Special Court under the POCSO.”

The report of the committee is attached with the petition which states that the accused had only touched his stomach and not done anything as stated by the complainant. Further, the committee claimed that the allegations made by the complainant were false. However, the complainant claimed that the committee tried to distort the facts and did not notice the reflexes of the child after the alleged act.

The father claimed that after the committee's contrary opinion, he insisted on having the CCTV footage, however, the complainant was denied. “The Committee threatened the Petitioner and issued a false and frivolous Show Cause Notice against the Petitioner causing him to fall in line and make further threats that his membership shall be dishonorably cancelled in the event that he approaches the authorities and that his picture would be put up at the reception causing him irreparable loss of repute and standing in society. They even went a step forward and threatened of social boycott by terminating the membership of the Petitioner,” father claimed in his petition.

The father approached the police

Realising the inaction by the club, only on December 18, the father approached the police wherein he not only made the molester an accused but also made the senior office bearer of the club and members of the disciplinary committee as an accused.

The father claimed that Bandra police station, after lodging the case, arrested the accused from UP and brought him to Mumbai in January. However, the father claimed, police instead of arresting the accused allowed him to go. It is alleged that the accused was arrested only after the police was informed about the petition filed by the father. The key accused was arrested on Thursday and was produced before the court. The court has remanded him to the custody of the Bandra police till Monday. While the petition is scheduled for hearing on Tuesday.

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