Vikas Bahl, director of films such as Queen and Shaandaar, has been accused of molesting a female employee. Bahl, who is a part of the production and distribution company – Phantom Films, along with directors Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane and Madhu Mantena, allegedly molested the woman during a trip to Goa a few months ago.
According to a Mumbai Mirror report, the matter was escalated to Reliance Entertainment with whom Phantom has a 50-50 joint venture agreement. Following this, a committee was set up as per the Vishakha guidelines to hear the woman’s grievances.
An anonymous stakeholder from the company told Mirror, “There are not one, two or three but multiple victims. I was in the middle of a film shoot when I came to know about the first incident and I had to stop my shoot and come to Mumbai… there is (after all) a young girl on whom an intoxicated Vikas forced himself while they were in Goa. He has behaved badly in the past as well but when this specific complaint came, we needed to act on it.”
Bahl refuted the allegations in an interview with the Mirror. He said, “I have heard about this particular lady you are speaking about and the Goa incident. She is not my employee. Yes, I am friends with her, we have worked together and there is a particular production job we have done together…but if she is feeling like this then I would like to sit across a table from her and talk to her. I want to ask her if I have crossed a line, whether I have done anything to hurt her and if she feels that way, I would like to apologise for it.”
The Mumbai Police have launched an inquiry into the matter, and are likely to interrogate Bahl soon.
Earlier this month, Arunabh Kumar, the CEO of ‘The Viral Fever’ was accused of sexual harassment by a former employee. The woman, who blogs on Medium under the name ‘The Indian Fowler’, accused Kumar of molesting and sexually harassing her a number of times during her stint as an assistant producer at the show. The blog post went viral soon after it was published on 12 March.