Filmmaker Sajid Khan has been suspended for a year by Indian Film and Television Directors’ Association (IFTDA) after being accused of sexual harassment by a journalist, a female actor and an assistant director. Bipasha Basu, Dia Mirza and Lara Dutta also came down heavily on the director.
In a statement, IFTDA president Ashoke Pandit said, “The committee investigated the complaints in the spirit of POSH Act and in compliance of principles of sexual harassment, unwelcome sexually determined behaviour, unwarranted contact by poking and advances, demands for sexual favours and abuse of power by Sajid Khan.”
The statement continued, “Mr Sajid Khan was given an opportunity to put forth his defence. He did not give any explanation, response or defence to the allegations of sexual harassment, unwelcome sexually determined behaviour, poking at the girls and asking the girls to seduce or strip or to show cleavage and other sexual misconduct and thereby traumatised them mentally and emotionally.
Mr Sajid Khan did not accept the sexual molestation of the complainants but admitted that his behaviour and language was impolite, he had been brash and used abusive language with his friends which included boys and girls. He admitted that he had sex relations with girls, but with their consent.”
IFTDA issued a show-cause notice to Sajid Khan in November. The notice read, “Your lewd and obscene actions have brought disrepute to Indian Film and Television Directors’ Association. We, therefore, want an explanation from you for such offensive behaviour within seven days of the receipt of the notice for further action as per the rules and regulations.”
Replying to the notice, Sajid denied the allegations and said they have harmed his professional and personal life. Post the sexual harassment allegations, Sajid issued a statement on Twitter which read, “In the wake of the allegations against me and the pressure being put on my family, my producer and the stars of the film Housefull 4, I must take the moral responsibility of stepping down from my directorial post, till the time I can allay the allegations and prove the truth. I request my friends in the media to kindly not pass judgment till the truth is out.”
A committee was set up to listen to Sajid Khan’s side of the story after which Ashoke Pandit, told PTI, “As far as Sajid’s case is concerned we have heard both the parties, Sajid and the girls. ICC (Internal Complaints Committee of IFTDA) will sit in a week’s time and take a call on the judgment and the federation will be there, along with the lawyers.”