Filmmaker Vikas Bahl, who was accused of sexual assault by a former employee of film production company Phantom Films, has been cleared of all charges following an internal inquiry by Reliance Entertainment, Mumbai Mirror reported on Saturday. Reliance Entertainment held 50% stake in Phantom Films. In October 2018, the production company had officially disbanded.
Shibasish Sarkar, group chief executive officer of Reliance Entertainment, confirmed that the internal inquiry had cleared Bahl. “Yes, it is true that the internal complaints committee report has exonerated Vikas Bahl,” Sarkar told Mumbai Mirror. “With the committee clearing Vikas, we don’t have a choice but to reinstate his credit as director of Super 30.”
Reports had suggested that Bahl would not be given directorial credit for Super 30 starring Hrithik Roshan in the wake of the allegations.
An unidentified official said the complainant had not appeared before the internal committee. “Those associated with the complainant and the respondent were interviewed by the committee,” the official said. “It also recorded documentation and correspondence between the two and based on this, it has unanimously concluded that Vikas Bahl stands exonerated of all charges levelled against him.”
An article published in the Huffington Post on October 6, 2018, quoted the former employee of Phantom Films who alleged that Bahl had sexually assaulted her in 2015. The woman alleged that Anurag Kashyap, a partner of the production house, had ignored the complaint in October 2015. The woman resigned from Phantom Films in January 2017.
A few days later, Bahl filed a Rs 10-crore defamation suit against his former Phantom Films partners Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane in October 2018. He had sent legal notices to the two, accusing them of orchestrating a campaign against him by using the harassment allegation as an opportunity to disband Phantom Films and pin the blame on him. The notices came after Kashyap and Motwane issued statements on social media condemning Bahl in the wake of the allegations.