After CINTAA apologises to Tanushree Dutta, ex-president Gajendra Chauhan slams the move

New Delhi: After Tanushree Dutta opened up last week about being harassed by actor Nana Patekar on the sets of Horn Ok Pleassss in 2008, Cine And TV Artists’ Association on Tuesday said Tanushree Dutta’s complaint was inappropriately evaluated by CINTAA’s then functioning committee a decade ago. However, former president of CINTAA, Gajendra Chauhan, has slammed the organisation’s decision to apologise to Tanushree.

In 2008, the 34-year-old actress opted out of Rakesh Sarang’s film Horn ‘OK’ Pleassss citing harassment on the part of a senior actor, who she recently publicly named to be Nana Patekar for the first time in several interviews. After her exit from the film, Tanushree brought the matter to CINTAA’s notice but the actress’ “chief grievance”, as was mentioned in the complaint, wasn’t dealt upon at the time, read the statement from CINTAA.

Talking to Dainik Bhaskar, Amit Bahl of CINTAA said, “From the time we came on, we are always against harrassment at workplace. In Tanushree’s case, her complaint relating to finances was settled but not the one relating to harassment. We were unaware of the same till she brought up the name of CINTAA in her statement. The decision taken by the previous committee was not correct. In the current situation, we can’t reopen the case. But if any of the aggrieved parties want to ask for help we are there for them. If a fresh case is filed by either party, we will certainly look into it. We will give both parties a chancd for fair hearing. And in this case who is right or who is wrong has not yet been proved. That decision will finally be given either by law or police. We can only help assist them.”

However, former president of CINTAA Gajendra Chauhan has slammed CINTAA’s decision to apologise to Tanushree. Speaking to Dainik Bhaskar,  Gajendra Chauhan said, “Whoever has apologised has committed a mistake. That person doesn’t have full knowlegde of information and facts. I was the Chairman of Scrutiny committe and I had received Tanushree’s complaint in 2008. It was around 8 pm when I received her complaint.  A person close to Tanushree had come with her complaint. I cant remember his name or face now. Tanushree herself didnt come. I went through her complaint and after consulting the other members of the committe found out that the complaint was criminal in nature and we immediately advised the person to tell Tanushree to the police station and lodge an FIR. If law requires any help then CINTAA will stand with her, I told the person. We showed him the right path because even if CINTAA enquires we don’t have the power to punish anyone in a complaint that is criminal in nature. So whoever from CINTAA has said that we overlooked her harrassment complaint in 2008 is wrong and he or she doesnt have full knowledge of facts.”
Gajendra further slammed Tanushree for one of her recent statements. “I have an objection with one of Tanushree’s recent statement. She says these associations like CINTAA are bogus. If so why did she come to me to become a member. I wss the one who welcome her into CINTAA after she became Miss India.”

Dutta said that Patekar tried to get too close to her during a special dance number. When she protested, she said that he called goons to the film set, who attacked her car and broke the windshield. In her allegations, she added even though the industry insiders allegedly knew about Nana Patekar’s reportedly indecent behaviour with women, no one spoke about it. Ms Dutta has also named director Rakesh Sarang, choreographer Ganesh Acharya and producer Sami Siddique as “culprits.”

The incident scarred Tanushree, who left for the US, shortly after. The actress has returned and is determined to get justice.

On Tuesday, CINTAA released a statement saying that the decision taken in the Joint Settlement Committee of CINTAA at the time was “not appropriate” and the case of sexual harassment was not addressed. However, they said that they could not take any action now as CINTAA’s constitution doesn’t allow them to take up a case that is more than three years old.

Read the full statement here:

CINTAA strongly condemns any act that outrages the modesty of any individual and any form of sexual harassment is unacceptable to us. After going through Ms Tanushree Dutta’s complaint, which was filed with the then Executive Committee of CINTAA in March 2008, we feel that the decision taken in the Joint Dispute Settlement Committee of CINTAA & IFTPC (then known as AMPTPP) in July 2008 was not appropriate, as the chief grievance of sexual harassment wasn’t even addressed.

Although it was a different Executive Committee at that time, yet as CINTAA we find it highly regrettable and no apologies can suffice, hence we must resolve today to never allow such lapses to occur again. CINTAA stands strongly for the dignity and self respect of its members.

Sexual harassment is a serious criminal offence, unfortunately CINTAA’s Constitution bars us from taking up any case which is more than three years old. Hence we appeal to the authorities to take cognisance of Ms Dutta’s statements and conduct an impartial and speedy enquiry so that truth and justice may prevail. We also appeal to all our members to report any such incidents to us immediately. We are duty bound to give them our complete moral and legal support to ensure just and safe working conditions.

While Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan and Salman Khan have steered clear of discussing the issue, actors like Farhan Akhtar, Sonam Kapoor, Swara Bhasker and Twinkle Khanna have spoken up in support of Tanushree.