The filmmaker has denied the sexual assault accusations and that he has been asked to step down from his production house.
Mumbai: Just when the police registered two FIRs against The Viral Fever (TVF) CEO Arunabh Kumar for molestation, another sexual harassment accusation has come up against another producer.
Producer/director Vikas Bahl, has been allegedly accused of molestation, by his female employees at Phantom Films.
According to Mumbai Mirror, a young woman working at Phantom Films had alleged that she was molested by Vikas Bahl, during a trip to Goa a few months ago and when the co-founders of Phantom, Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane and Madhu Mantena learnt about this matter, they escalated the seriousness of the issue to Reliance Entertainment, who has a 50-50 joint venture with Phantom. The gravity of the issue resulted in the company setting up a committee as per the ‘Vishakha’ guidelines to hear the victim’s grievance.
One of the stakeholders of the company on the condition of anonymity revealed to the daily asserting, “We (Reliance Entertainment and Phantom Films) have taken a hard stand, based on what we have heard and investigated. According to him and several others close to the development, Vikas Bahl, who had already stopped attending office, was formally told on March 28 to step down from his position. The decision needed to be taken because it was getting too much. There are not one, two or three but multiple victims. I was in the middle of a film shoot when I came to know about the first incident, and I had to stop my shoot and come to Mumbai… there is (after all) a young girl on whom an intoxicated Vikas forced himself while they were in Goa. He has behaved badly in the past as well but when this specific complaint came, we needed to act on it.”
However, Vikas Bahl, who spoke about women empowerment through his film ‘Queen’, has been accused of the sexual offence. Strange!
Mumbai Mirror got the statement straight from the horse’s mouth who defended saying, “Nothing has happened. I am running the company. There is no complaint to HR and there is no ‘Vishakha’ committee. I have heard about this particular lady you are speaking about and the Goa incident. She is not my employee. Yes, I am friends with her, we have worked together and there is a production job we have done together…but if she is feeling like this I would like to sit across a table from her and talk to her. I want to ask her if I have crossed a line, whether I have done anything to hurt her and if she feels that way I would like to apologise for it. I have known her for long. For two-and-a-half years she has never made me feel as if she is uncomfortable (around me). I have worked very hard to be the person I have become. I do feel a little victimised but I don’t know what to do about that.”
On the converse of Vikas’ statement, one of the other partners also revealed to the daily that there are lawyers crawling over the proceedings and the investigations are still on. He said, "They have been for a long time. It’s a scary place to be in because he’s my best friend. This industry is filled with instances like this ‘aur yeh sadiyon se chalta aa raha hai’. But it has to stop, and we will make sure it is done the right way. It is important to see this through. Vikas being sacked will affect everyone,"
Amidst all these fiasco, wonder where the alleged victims stand.