Just a day ago we had reported that the court was hearing the proceedings of Vikas Bahl defamation case. As readers would be aware by now, in the wake of #MeToo controversy, Anurag Kashyap had rekindled a sexual harassment allegation levelled against his former partner Vikas Bahl by sharing the details on Twitter. As a response to the same, Vikas decided to take the legal route by filing a case against Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane, who too supported Anurag’s claims. However, it is the first time where Madhu Mantena has come out to give his statement on the case.
In the case that was heard earlier this week amongst the bench headed by Justice SJ Kathawalla, he had asked the fourth partner of Phantom, Madhu Mantena to respond to allegations made by both parties. After arguments between counsels, he had also demanded a statement from the victim. Now, we hear that Madhu Mantena and the sexual harassment survivor have submitted their respective affidavits on the case at the Bombay High Court.
However, reports have it that the court has observed contradictions in Mantena’s statement as well as what his lawyer claimed during the hearing that was held in Tuesday. Madhu Mantena’s lawyer had earlier denied the presence of his client during the hearing when there was an argument about Vikas Bahl confessing to his misdeeds against the Phantom employee and other women to his partners. It was also alleged that the filmmaker had also admitted to having alcohol problems and had promised them to go to the rehabilitation center in the presence of all his partners namely, Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane and Madhu Mantena. While these were mentioned in the affidavit submitted by Anurag Kashyap, Mantena’s counsel had denied the same earlier. But in the affidavit submitted by Madhu, he has agreed to Kashyap’s claims.
These reports also state that the contradiction hasn’t gone down well with the court and it has now directed the lawyers to go out of the court and ask Mantena to respond to a specific paragraph that was mentioned in the affidavit submitted by Anurag Kashyap.
On the other hand, in case of the alleged victim’s affidavit, the lawyer of the victim has maintained in reports that despite her reluctance, she has agreed to file a short affidavit with important elements to support her statement in the court. The lawyer also stated that she decided to take this step after she was worried that her case would add insult to what she faced and the credibility of it.
Talking about the case further, reports have revealed another aspect wherein it is being said that the lawyers of Bahl, Janak Dwarkadas and Hitesh Jain have apparently mentioned in the court that Vikas was ousted from Phantom Films a year ago after the sexual harassment allegations came to light. They have also accused Anurag Kashyap of fueling up a media outrage after putting out about it on social media.
As for Kashyap’s lawyers Venkatesh Dhond and Priyanka Khimani, they have argued on these allegations adding that Anurag decided to speak up after he was questioned by the media over the interview given by the alleged victim/survivor. They have also assured to the court that they have quite a few of documents that they would like to submit for additional evidence since the court has now decided to dig deeper into the issue.
Coming to the conclusion of the last hearing, the court has not directed any orders to either of the parties and it is being said that the next hearing of the case may be adjourned to November 21.