A special court in Mumbai on Wednesday convicted a businessman accused of molesting a former Bollywood child actor in 2017 under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, Hindustan Times reported. The court ruled that the accused, Vikas Sachdeva, would serve three years in jail.
“I am holding you guilty for Section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of Indian Penal Code and Section 8 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act,” said Special Judge AD Deo.
A report in India Today said that Sachdeva was also fined Rs 25,500. His lawyer contended that he had a good nature and was a first-time offender, adding that he was the only earning member of the family.
Seven witnesses, including the then minor actor, were examined in the case. The prosecution had recently moved a petition to call the actor back as a witness to examine the accused. However, the actor did not return to court for re-examination, according to The Indian Express.
Last month, the defence submitted that there was no evidence to prove that Sachdeva was guilty and denied that any such incident, as reported by the actor, had occurred.
In 2017, the child actor had alleged via a live video on Instagram that Sachdeva had misbehaved with her. She also shared a photo that reportedly showed him with his foot on her armrest. “I ignored it the first time and blamed the turbulence for it,” she had then posted on Instagram. “Until I woke up to this pleasant sight of his beautiful foot rubbing my back and neck. Guess he could not sit like a civilised human being and placed his foot on my arm rest while he is fully ‘phelaoed’ on his seat.”
The Mumbai Police arrested Sachdeva, a 39-year-old senior executive with an entertainment company, on December 10, 2017.