Mumbai court disposes sexual assault case against Being Human CEO
Actress Andria D'Souza had accused Manisha Mandhana of physical assault in 2019 and filed an FIR against him in the Gamdevi Police Station
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on 22 March 2019, and has been updated to reflect a court order disposing of the case against Manish Mandhana.
A Mumbai court recently disposed of the physical assault case filed by actress Andria D'Souza against Manish Mandhana, the CEO of Salman Khan’s clothing brand Being Human.
The actress had accused Mandhana of physical assault in 2019 and filed an FIR against him in the Gamdevi Police Station.
However, according to Mandhana's lawyer, the police station found no evidence for the alleged offence, and filed a B summary report before the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court at Girgaum.
D'Souza then filed a protest petition against the police report. But the court rejected her petition, accepted the police summary report, and disposed of the case against Mandhana.
The original story follows below:
Earlier this month, model-turned-actress Andria D'Souza had filed an FIR against Salman Khan’s clothing brand Being Human’s CEO Manish Mandhana, accusing him of physical and sexual assault. The violence, she said, had impaired her hearing in one ear. The complaint was filed under Section 325 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt) of the Indian Penal Code. It’s over two weeks now but there has been no development in the case and has left Andria disappointed.
“Why has Gamdevi police not taken any action so far?” D’Souza wonders. “He (Mandhana) has not gone for a bail, he has not been summoned, nothing has happened. Whereas cops have been asking me for several proofs — medical reports, screenshots of our messages and I have given all of that but he has not even been summoned? They keep telling me that they are looking into the matter,” says D'Souza, who has made several visits to the police station in the last couple of days.
D'Souza said she knew of Mandhana since 2011 when she was in Dubai and she got to know him personally in Mumbai sometime in 2015, “when we would hang out in parties”. "Since 2013, I have been shuttling between Dubai and Mumbai in search of work in movies, and I finally shifted base to Mumbai, end of 2015. Soon we got into a relationship and he would come home every night to be with me. Both of us lived at Peddar Road. He had lied to me about his marital status. He told me that he and his wife were living in the same house because of their children but otherwise they’re not together. Sometime in December 2016, he deleted all my messages so that there was no evidence of our relationship. But I was in love with him and never doubted him. I had lost my parents and he was there with me during my ups and downs,” said D'Souza.
"We were in a happy space until mid-2017 when I learnt that he had said similar things to another woman and later dumped her. When I confronted him, he denied it," said D'Souza. Things went further downhill in August 2017 after which Mandhana got physically abusive, admits D'souza. “One day, he hit me so hard that I fell down and hit a table,” she said. “The violence continued till November 2017, when I couldn’t take it anymore. I would vomit, get vertigo attacks, feel dizzy. Eventually I sought medical help, which is when I realised that I had suffered hearing impairment in one ear, besides several other complications. My health started declining. I would get convulsions and slipped into depression,” she said. D'Souza sought treatment at Mumbai’s Jaslok hospital. She says that the effects of the violence forced her to opt out of her existing assignments, one of which included hosting a prestigious show for a major media house.
When contacted, investigating officer Rakesh Jadhav, who appeared to be in a hurry to disconnect the call, said, “Investigations are on and the report will be submitted in court." Earlier, senior inspector Gokul Singh Patil had told a leading tabloid, "The investigation is underway. We are getting medical reports verified by doctors. We will submit our findings in court." This has raised doubts in D'Souza’s lawyer, Falguni Brahmbhatt's mind, who asserted, “But why do they want to submit the report to the court without summoning the accused? Without even investigating the matter properly police usually submits the report before the court when they have to close the case. Direct submission of the report to the court happens in circumstances when they are not satisfied with the complaint. Or, when there is no prima facie evidence found. They don’t even technically want to show him arrested.”
“Why has he (Mandhana) not been given even a simple notice? Why has the police not called him and recorded his statement? They are clearly not supporting the victim. They are asking her for all kinds of evidence but he has not been summoned even once. As per Section 325, she has sufficient evidence to prove that she has lost her hearing, and now they are thinking of recording the statement of the doctor who has treated her,” added the advocate.
Meanwhile, D'Souza has been running from pillar to post seeking justice. “I patiently waited for a week after filing an FIR after which I took an appointment with Deven Bharti, the joint commissioner of police (Law and Order). He heard me out and assured me that he would personally follow up on the case and that he needed four days, but I haven't heard from anyone since," said D'Souza. “Mr Bharti told us that he will speak to the DCP (Deputy Commissioner of Police) of that zone and after we have furnished evidence, they will look into the matter and act according to whatever the investigations have revealed. But the only thing they are doing is telling my client to give medical evidence, call record conversations, messages, screenshots… while surprisingly nothing has been asked from the accused party. Investigations are not as speedy as it should have been,” said Brahmbhatt.
“Most importantly”, the advocate continued, “some more sections need to be added going by the victim’s statements and from certain facts and incidents that had transpired between the two, like for instance, forceful physical relations, abuse, assault.. but it has not been done. Whether it is bailable or a non-bailable offence, more than 14 days have passed and it doesn’t take so much time to investigate. Medical evidence is very evident. It is just a question of 48 hours. When they can crack big murder, rape, theft cases, this is a simple case of a lady giving a statement that she was assaulted. Ideally, it should just take two days to get the statement of doctor and call the accused to the police station. It is not that the cops are not getting any leads. How difficult is this investigation?”
“My client presumes that because Manish Mandhana is financially very strong, he is well connected and then he is also part of 'Being Human'. So, he could be close to Salman Khan. Hence, the case is going at a slow pace and probably he can get away with the crime. Cops are actually sleeping over the matter. We don’t know the fate of the case at this point of time, we can only appeal that it needs to be investigated thoroughly and the victim should get justice. We don’t know what will happen eventually but they should summon Mandhana,” the advocate added.
“Our difficulty is that till the time the police is investigating the matter and unless and until they submit the report of the investigations made, we cannot approach the court with respect to the FIR. But in case the police fails to take proper action, we will initiate appropriate legal proceedings,” added the advocate, who also wants the police to incorporate more sections on the basis of D'Souza’s statement. “We are pursuing the police to add those sections and many other important facts which are not mentioned in the FIR,” said Brahmbhatt.
Despite repeated efforts to get the other side of the story, two days have passed since we reached out to Mandhana for his version but there has been no response. Ditto with Salman's team. While the actor's PR team kept saying that a statement will be issued, it hasn't been done so far.
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