The case was registered by the Maharashtra Cyber Police on Tuesday based on a complaint lodged by a local Congress leader alleging that Rohatgi had created and circulated a defamatory video on the Nehru-Gandhi family, an official told PTI.
The actor has been booked under the IPC sections 153 (promoting enmity between two groups), 500 (punishment for defamation), and 505 (2) (statements conducting public mischief).
As per the complaint, Rohatgi and an unidentified person allegedly created a defamatory video about Mahatma Gandhi, former Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and other members of the Gandhi family and circulated it on social media.
Taking note of the video, Congress leader Sangita Tiwari and office-bearers of the party’s Pune city unit approached the police demanding that an offence be registered against Rohatgi, the official added.
Pune City Congress Spokesperson Ramesh Iyer told Indian Express, “Payal Rohatgi has repeatedly made derogatory comments about the Nehru-Gandhi family. We came across one such post, which we believe has been made recently. Subsequently, the office-bearers of Pune City Congress committee, including Ramesh Bagwe, Mohan Joshi, Datta Bahirat, Sangeeta Tiwari and I, met senior police officials from the Cyber Crime Cell. A formal complaint in the case was given by Sangeeta Tiwari.”
However, in a video statement, Rohatgi’s lawyer said they had not received any notice related to the case. “Since morning, there is news in the media about my client Payal Rohatgi. We have not got any information or notice related to the FIR.” He added that the video in question could be the one related to a 2019 case involving the same, which is already under trial in a Rajasthan court.
The 36-year-old actor, who is known for her stint on the reality TV show Big Boss, which aired in 2008, has faced legal action in the past too in connection with statements she had made about the Nehru-Gandhi family. In 2019, Rohatgi was arrested for allegedly posting objectionable content on social media against the Nehru-Gandhi family. She was later released on bail. The actor’s Twitter account was temporarily suspended as well.
In June, the actor was booked for uttering obscene words (IPC section 294-b), intentional insult (504) and criminal intimidation (506), after she allegedly threatened the residents of her housing society.