Mumbai: Vikas Sachdeva (39), the Kandivali-based regional business head of an entertainment company, who was accused of allegedly molesting Dangal actress Zaira Wasim onboard a Mumbai-Delhi Vistara flight Saturday night, was remanded in police custody for two days by a sessions court on Monday.
Sachdeva’s lawyer, H.S. Anand, while rebutting the allegations against him, said that the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act does not apply as the complainant completed 17 years on October 23 and is into her 18th year.
He also argued that the Section 7 of the Act doesn't apply against his client as the parts of the complainant’s body that was allegedly touched — the neck and arm — do not find mention in it.
Sachdeva, who stays with his wife Divya and son in Kandivali, has no previous criminal record, and the lawyer asked the court to consider that he is the father of a nine-year-old special child, and the family is dependent on him.
Mr Anand claimed that Sachdeva’s contact was inadvertent as he was in a deep slumber after attending a funeral in Delhi and had even apologised to Zaira. The actress told the police that she was on a Vistara flight on Saturday night from Delhi to Mumbai, when the passenger sitting behind her put up his feet on her armrest and tried to feel her up. According to Sachdeva’s wife, he was travelling from Delhi to Mumbai on Saturday, after attending his uncle’s funeral, and was in a disturbed state of mind.
Stating that the complaint against Sachdeva is an afterthought, Mr Anand said, “If the complainant was harassed during her two-hour flight, she could have given a complaint at the airport terminal itself. Instead, the complaint was registered at her hotel the next day, with significant discrepancies in the alleged incident and her statement.”
The lawyer added, “According to the document submitted, it clearly states that the actor has completed her 17th year of age in the month of October, so she is not a minor and she is almost 18 years of age. So the POCSO Act does not apply here. All the sections in this case attract punishment less than seven years, so according to the Animesh Kumar judgment of the Supreme Court, my client should have been given a notice to join the investigation under Section 41 of the Code of Criminal Procedure Act, but instead my client was raided and arrested from his residence without any notice.”
Speaking to The Asian Age, Divya said, “My husband is being framed and the allegations are baseless. The police is also lying by saying that my husband was arrested from the airport at 12.30 am, whereas he was arrested from my residence on Sunday afternoon, and I have CCTV footage to prove that fact.” She added, “My husband was disturbed, and he could never do this to a girl. He is a complete family man.”
Sachdeva was presented in Dindoshi sessions court on Monday afternoon, and after the arguments from both sides was remanded in police custody till Wednesday.