[dropcap]F[/dropcap]ilmmaker Vikas Bahl has responded to a show cause notice sent by Indian Film & Television Directors’ Association (IFTDA) after allegations of sexual harassment resurfaced against him.
In a detailed response, the Queen director wrote why his membership with IFTDA should not be terminated after denying all the charges levelled against him. “These alleged charges are not only false, erroneous, malicious and motivated but have no factual basis,” he said.
“You may also note that till date neither has any criminal complaint been filed against me in respect of the alleged sexual harassment charges nor have I been called upon by any investigation agency for investigation with respect to the same,” read the response.
He called the allegations “merely anonymous” and “hearsay” and he must be presume to be innocent till proven guilty.
He also wrote that the statements issued by his business partners Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane against him were with in intent to settle personal scores, and that they were out of professional jealousy. He has filed a suit against Kashyap and Motwane at Bombay High Court.
Bahl has moved the Bombay High Court with a Rs 10-crore defamation suit against his former Phantom Films partners Kashyap and Motwane. In a suit filed on 16 October, Bahl sought direction from the court to restrain the two from making any statement about him to the media or via social media.
Furthermore, Bahl requested the IFTDA to not terminate his membership until he is given a personal hearing to make his case.
Kashyap, Motwane, Bahl and Madhu Mantena made a creative film quartet in Bollywood when they established Phantom Films in 2011. The company was dissolved earlier this month.
“IFTDA has taken a stern stand against Vikas Bahl by issuing a show cause notice and asked him to respond within one week’s time, failing which his membership will be terminated,” read the statement from IFTDA.
The association said it had immediately set up a women grievances redressal cell. The three member all women committee will be headed by celebrated TV and film director Swapna Waghmare Joshi as chairperson with Bhavna Talwar as convenor and Priyanka Ghatak as co-convenor, supported by the entire executive commitee of IFTDA.
Last year, a female employee at Phantom Films had alleged that Bahl behaved inappropriately with her during a trip to Goa.
However, the accuser released a statement saying she would not be filing a complaint against Bahl after which Justice Shahrukh Kathawalla slammed Anurag and Vikramaditya for not being able to present a witness in court. He added that the #MeToo campaign was only for the victims and should not be misused by anyone to manipulate a victim to level allegations of sexual harassment against anybody to settle “their own scores”.