A session court in Mumbai has granted interim protection from arrest to Slumdog Millionaire actor Madhur Mittal, in a sexual assault case filed against him by a 28-year-old woman on 23 February 2021.
While granting protection to the actor, Additional Sessions Judge Sonali Aggarwal observed that “Considering the nature of the offense and the circumstances of the case, the police are directed not to take any coercive action against the accused till the next date.”
The woman, his former girlfriend, has accused him of sexually assaulting and battering her on February 13, at her Mumbai residence, after they broke up.
Mittal has been booked under sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 354A, 354B & 354(D) (sections relating to stalking, forcibly disrobing) and 509 (words or gestures intending to insult the modesty of any woman) of the Indian Penal Code in the FIR registered at the Khar Police Station.
During the anticipatory bail hearing, prosecutor Meera Choudhry argued that Mittal has admitted his presence at the scene of the offense on 13 February 2021. “They have admitted everything except that he beat her up.”
Choudhry further said that even after the break-up Mittal kept harassing the complainant. “She informed her flatmate, who asked her to approach the police, but she went to a friend’s house, instead,” Choudhry argued.
On February 15, Mittal allegedly came below the victim’s house again but left after her lawyer Niranjani Shetty threatened to call 104, the woman’s helpline number. She was hurt under the eye and lip, and took treatment from Holy Family Hospital for her injuries on February 16, prosecutor Choudhry said, adding, an FIR was finally registered against Mittal on February 23. The plea, among other grounds, cites a 10-day delay in filing of FIR.
Meanwhile, Mittal’s lawyer argued before the court that the above allegations were made only to defame him. “These allegations are all false. I have evidence but I don’t want to defame the victim. What is the need for his custodial interrogation?” She (Victim) goes for a medical after three days. She has telephoned me after the alleged incident. Just because she provides four photographs of dark circles and torn lips, can that become an injury?” argued Mittal’s counsel, Advocate Saveena Bedi. She added that her client had no criminal cases pending against him either.
As per sources, an anticipatory bail application was filed by Mittal, according to which, he proposed to his girlfriend in December when he had visited her in Goa. She came back to Mumbai a week after he did, and had stayed with his family for 4 days. She allegedly also asked him to give her a promise ring, and Madhur agreed.
Mittal alleged that the girl had an argument with his mother, after which she left the house and allegedly asked him to look for a house where they could both stay together. He reportedly also alleged that the girl started pressurizing him to share the rent of the apartment where she was staying, and he alleged that she pressurized him to get a joint account in their name.
Mittal states that he was in a steady relationship with the victim even when he was shooting in Jaipur last month. He claims the victim broke up with him after he fell asleep on a video call. Mittal claimed that on the day of the alleged incident i.e., on 12 February 2021, he called the complainant from below her house and went up only after she agreed. He denied beating her up or touching her without her consent. Mittal has also accused the victim of being religiously biased and trying to convert him.
After hearing arguments from both the parties, Judge SP Agarwal reserved the order for March 26, and granted interim protection to Mittal from arrest, till March 26.
“Getting to learn about things which are untrue is extremely disturbing. There have been WhatsApp messages filled with stories that are assassinating my character. These are being forwarded for weeks in casting directors’ groups denying me work. I’m the only earning member of my family since the age of seven and all these reports in the media are affecting me, my family, and my career in more ways than you can imagine,” Mittal reportedly told the sources.