The Bombay High Court on Thursday agreed to hear filmmaker Vikas Bahl’s defamation suit against his former Phantom Films partners Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane and a few media houses, and pass a final order in the case instead of conducting hearings for interim relief, Mumbai Mirror reported.
Bahl, who has been accused of sexual assault by a former employee at the production house, has alleged that Kashyap and Motwane orchestrated a smear campaign by using the allegation to disband the production house and pin the blame on him.
Meanwhile, Madhu Mantena – who was Phantom Films’ fourth partner – and the woman who has levelled the accusation against Bahl filed affidavits in the court during the day. The accuser submitted the affidavit through senior counsel Navroz Seervai and lawyer Neha Mehta, saying she was putting on oath that she stands by her statement to news website HuffPost India. Seervai told the court that his client overcame her reluctance to submit the affidavit as she felt “it would add insult to injury if her credibility and her words were to be disregarded”, The Indian Express reported.
During the hearing on Tuesday, Mantena had denied being present at a meeting on March 9, 2017, where, according to Kashyap, Bahl sought forgiveness for his behaviour. However, on Thursday he corroborated Kashyap’s claim that Bahl had “agreed to seek assistance in dealing with his general behaviour and to undergo treatment” for alcohol abuse during the meeting. But he denied the filmmaker had “apologised for his misconduct”.
Justice SJ Kathawalla, who is hearing the case, asked Bahl, Kashyap and Motwane to submit their affidavits by November 21 and told Seervai that the woman can inform the court if anything in the affidavits is incorrect. “If she feels, she wants to deal with some points she is not precluded from filing further affidavit,” the judge added.