A 41-year-old businessman, convicted for molesting a former Bollywood actor, then a minor, onboard an Air Vistara flight from Delhi to Mumbai in December 2017, moved the Bombay High Court against his conviction by special Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act court that sentenced him to three-year imprisonment.
A special court on January 15, convicted Vikas Sachdev under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which provides punishment for assault or criminal force on woman with an intent to outrage her modesty.
Special Judge A D Deo in Dindoshi Sessions Court had found Sachdev guilty and convicted him of sexual assault under provisions of the POCSO Act, as the victim was minor when the incident took place.
However, the sentence was suspended for the man to approach the High Court. He has been granted bail. Thereafter, Sachdev filed an appeal before the High Court on February 20, challenging the POCSO court ruling.
Sachdev in his plea before the high court submitted that the trial court had erred in finding him guilty and said the victim had not identified him before the trial court. He further said it was a fit case to quash and set aside conviction and sentence against him.
The prosecution had examined seven witnesses, including the actor, who had provided an account of the incident on social media. Sachdev was arrested subsequently and was later released on bail.
The victim, in her social media post, had said a co-passenger sitting behind her put up his feet on her armrest.
“So, I was in a flight travelling from Delhi to Mumbai today and right behind me one middle-aged man who made my two-hour journey miserable. I tried to record it on phone to understand it better because the cabin lights were dimmed, I failed to get it.,” she had posted on social media.
“The lights were dimmed, so it was even worse. It continued for another five to ten minutes and then I was sure of it. He kept nudging my shoulder and continued to move his foot up and down my back and neck,” she said in the video post, following the incident. The accused, however, said the victim was possibly “hallucinating”.
The High Court will hear appeal by Sachdev on March 2.
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