Vikas Bahl, in the eye of a storm after a former co-worker alleged sexual harassment, has sent a legal notice to both Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane, his former partner at Phantom Films, asking them to withdraw their statements against him. Most importantly, he has called them "opportunists".
Bahl seeks withdrawal of ‘contradictory’ statements made by Kashyap and Motwane on social media regarding the victim of alleged 2015 assault, according to a report by Mumbai Mirror.
In two separate, but similarly worded legal notices, sent to Kashyap and Motwane on Tuesday via email, Bahl accused them of not only orchestrating the whole campaign against him, but also using the opportunity to disband Phantom Films, making him look like the person responsible for the production house’s fall.
The notice, issued through Advocate Shamsher Garud of Jayakar and Partners, alleges that Kashyap bribed another employee of the production house to make similar allegations against Bahl. “This makes us wonder whether the alleged incident [of sexual assault] also has any authenticity, given that the alleged victim was, in fact, working as your own employee,” reports Mumbai Mirror.
Kashyap and Motwane dissolved Phantom Films on Monday after an unidentified employee of the production company outed Bahl, alleging he sexually assaulted her in Goa during a promotional tour for Bombay Velvet in 2015.
The notice alleges that Kashyap and Motwane acted on hearsay to paint Bahl as the villain of the piece. “You are neither a witness nor the alleged victim, but instead an opportunist seeking to derive benefit based on unsubstantiated information. The alleged incident has not been established in any court of law and that you have exploited the media to propagate your own personal vendetta,” the notice says.
Bahl has alleged that he, along with Kashyap, Motwane and Mantena had anyway been discussing dissolution of Phantom Films for the past few months because of creative and professional differences. “However, putting [the blame of the production house shutting down] solely on Bahl is in bad taste,” the notice says.
The notice says that with the alleged victim herself referring to Kashyap’s media statements as “sudden moral enlightenment”, it is clear that “there is personal agenda behind it [their statements in the media supporting the victim]”
The notice also points out contradictions in Kashyap’s stated position on the case in 2017 and now. Referring to the alleged victim’s statements in the media, the notice says that when she approached him in October 2015, he did not show any inclination to act on her allegations. “However, now he has changed his stand to say that he stood by the victim and had morally and contractually complied with what was expected of him as a Director of the company.”
The notice says that Motwane had earlier this month met Bahl and showed the latter screenshots of his conversations with alleged victim. “This was to show that no sexual harassment incident had taken place. Yet, Motwane, [after the victim outed him] went ahead and issued statements against Bahl,” the notice says.
The notice threatens to file civil and/or criminal defamation against Kashyap and Motwane if the two do not withdraw their “messages [on social media] and tender an unconditional apology to Bahl.”