Veteran Bollywood actor Jeetendra was accused of sexually harassing his cousin, who has come forward to file a police complaint 47 years after the alleged incident. Jeetendra has dubbed the charges as “baseless”, and a “miserable effort by a jealous competitor to disrupt his business activities”.
Jeetendra, whose real name is Ravi Kapoor, is the son of the alleged victim’s father’s sister.
The victim made the allegation in a police complaint filed with Himachal Pradesh’s Director General of Police.
Rubbishing the charges, Jeetendra’s counsel Rizwan Siddiquee in a statement said, “Foremost my client (Jeetendra) specifically and categorically denies any such incident.”
He claimed that such “baseless, ridiculous and fabricated claims” cannot be entertained by any court of law or the law enforcement agencies after a span of almost 50 years.
He added, “In any event, the timing of this baseless complaint seems to be nothing but a miserable effort made by a jealous competitor to disrupt the business activities of my client and his esteemed company. Such efforts are, therefore, in all fairness, treated with the contempt it truly deserves.”
He also said that the statute has provided a justice delivery system through the courts.
“And the Limitation Act 1963 was specifically enacted to ensure that all genuine complaints are made within a maximum time limit of three years so that a proper investigation is carried out and timely justice is delivered,” Siddique said.
The advocate said that the law does not give any person any rights or liberties of making any baseless, ridiculous or fabricated claims against any man publicly and seek to defame him with a hidden personal agenda.
He also advised the media to “cautiously refrain from giving any importance to such ridiculous, baseless and fabricated claims”, saying they should not participate in any way whatsoever in defaming or assassinating the character of any man in such cases.
As per the complaint, the incident took place in January 1971, when the victim was 18 and Jeetendra was 28. It happened when he “arranged” for the victim to join him from New Delhi to Shimla on the set of his movie without the complainant’s “awareness”.
The victim has claimed that on the night they reached Shimla, Jeetendra returned to the room in an inebriated state, joined the two separate beds and sexually assaulted her.
The allegation comes amid the #MeToo campaign as part of which women have come out about facing sexual abuse at the hands of powerful men. While several ladies have accused Hollywood’s powerful men, the Hindi film industry – while admitting the prevalence of abuse – has not been named and shamed as openly.
Jeetendra, now 75, is a well-known name in the Hindi film industry. He is also a film producer and has daughter Ekta and son Tusshar with wife Shobhaa.