Mumbai Police on Wednesday filed a closure report into the allegations of sexual harassment made by actress Tanushree Dutta against veteran actor Nana Patekar on the ground that there was not enough evidence to back her claims. The court is yet to accept the report, known in legal parlance as a B summary report.
In the report, police have stated that none of the 13 witnesses whose statements were recorded corroborated Dutta’s claims that Patekar had behaved inappropriately with her in 2008. “Each of the witnesses we spoke to told us that there was some trouble between Tanushree Dutta and Nana Patekar but none of them said that they had seen him behave inappropriately with her,” said a senior police official.
In March of that year, Dutta had been contracted to shoot an “item” song for the film Horn Ok Pleassss at a studio in Goregaon with Patekar. In her complaint, Dutta alleged that Patekar, who was not part of the song, touched her inappropriately on the pretext of teaching her to dance.
She then complained about this behaviour to choreographer Ganesh Acharya and his assistant Daisy Shah, thereafter retreating to her vanity van. Dutta further claimed that during this time, producer Abdul Samee Siddiqui, director Rakesh Sarang, Patekar and Acharya held a meeting and introduced new “intimate” steps into the song without her consent.
Dutta later called her parents and manager to the sets. As they attempted to leave in her car, their way was blocked by MNS party workers and cameramen who allegedly attacked her vehicle. A complaint was later lodged at Goregaon police station against the party workers.
In May 2008, Dutta wrote to Cine and TV Artistes Association, detailing her ordeal on the film set.
While the magistrate is yet to take the report on record, Dutta is free to file her objections. “She can move court if she feels aggrieved.
Advocate Nitin Satpute, who represents Dutta, said that he had not received a copy of the report and that he could contest it. “Police acted negligently to protect Nana Patekar, many witnesses statements not yet recorded, one Shyni Shetty statement recorded partly, police have not investigated properly so we are opposing summery reports and also going to file writ petition before Bombay High Court,” he said.
Dutta expressed disappointment and said she would continue to fight. In a widely circulated WhatsApp message, Dutta said: “A corrupt police force and legal system giving a clean chit to an even more corrupt person Nana who has been accused even in the past of bullying, intimidation and harassment by several women in the film Industry. Our witnesses have been silenced by intimidation and fake witnesses have been put forth to weaken the case. What was the rush to file a B summary report when all of my witnesses have not even recorded their statements yet?”
She added that she hoped to eventually prevail in the legal battle.