The last few months of 2018 was quite a ruckus whirlwind with the way #MeToo movement started gaining momentum in India. It also unmasked a lot of predators in the public eye and caused a much-needed scare in Bollywood as well. One of the most shocking #MeToo story told was by Vinta Nanda of how she was sexually assaulted and gaslighted by who we thought was one of the most ‘Sanskari’ people in Bollywood. While she never mentioned his name in her initial written account of the harrowing incident back in 1988, she went on to file a case against Alok Nath in last year. To add to this, many other actresses in the film industry had supported Vinta and also recounted their own disturbing incidents with the actor. After the official complaint was lodged, Alok Nath was booked in November under section 376 (punishment for rape) of the Indian Penal Code.
But today, the court has granted Alok Nath bail saying that the case was a defamatory report by Vinta Das. Additional Sessions Court Judge S S Oza granted the relief on a surety bond of Rs 5 Lakh. The judge while ruling in favour of Nath noted that this was because he found that the allegations Vinta Nanda raised were probably due to her “unrequited and un-reciprocated love” for the actor.
The offence against the actor has been registered on the basis of patently defamatory, false, malicious, derogatory and imaginary report of the first informant or complainant (Vinta Nanda). The report or complaint is inspired by the complainant’s personal vendetta towards him. The duo was working in the production unit of a television serial (in Mumbai) when they met Alok Nath in mid-80s, and a fast friendship developed between the three of them. He (Nath) proposed to Ashu in 1987 and they got married. Perhaps the complainant’s allegation against him (Nath) is inspired by the unrequited and unreciprocated love and affection that she (Nanda) had for him.
The judge’s report also stated that Vinta Nanda may have felt ‘secluded’ after both her friends were in a serious relationship.
It is to be noted that the complainant remembers the entire incident but does not remember the date and month of the incident. In view of all these facts, the possibility cannot be ruled out that the applicant has falsely been enroped in the crime.
While there is no time limitation to lodge the complaint for crimes under section 376 and 377 (unnatural offences) of the IPC, the court also observed that there was a delay of 20 years in filing the complaint. But the judge also addressed the reason for the late filing.