Bollywood actress Esha Gupta has asked for union minister Smriti Irani’s intervention after the National Commission for Women claimed that they have sent a notice to her in pertaining to a sexual harassment case. On Thursday, the NCW issued fresh notices to Esha, director-producer Mahesh Bhatt, actor Urvashi Rautela and others for the recording of witness statements on a complaint against the promoter of a company for allegedly blackmailing and sexually assaulting several girls on the pretext of giving them modeling careers.
Esha wrote in a tweet, “Dear @smritiirani ma’am, can you please help me with this issue. Why is this the first time m hearing about it through the tweets. If we do a paid promotion, it’s our work. Also, the fact that I have yet received no notice. Respected @smritiirani ma’am, please help me with this situation. Just by tweeting and giving out in news, a case cannot be made on a false pretext. I don’t know the truth behind #NCW case, but to accuse me of something like is defamatory.”
Respected @smritiirani ma’am, please help me clear this ordeal. This isn’t the way to try and use our name. Being a celeb doesn’t mean m not human. I am unwilling to accept this by @NCWIndia, they should be helping people not create media controversies
— Esha Gupta (@eshagupta2811) August 6, 2020
Esha said that she is ready to cooperate but did not agree with the way NCW is ‘dragging’ her name into the matter without informing her prior about it. “Respected ma’am, @sharmarekha, as a woman, I would stand by any woman who has been wronged. But if no information has reached to us, then why is my name dragged here. I am ready to cooperate and not ashamed, hence making it public here. @smritiirani,” she wrote.
As per the reports, Mahesh Bhatt’s reps said that he has not received any notice from NCW. He denied being associated with the company alleged of harassment. Mouni Roy, actor-model Prince Narula, and TV personality Rannvijay Singha have also been named by the NCW.
The NCW stated that despite directing to appear before the commission and communicating the same through all possible modes of communication, these people have neither bothered to respond nor attended the scheduled meeting. Taking strict note of their absence, the commission adjourned the matter for August 18, asking them to appear before it and warned that non-appearance will be followed by action as per the guidelines.
The development comes as the NCW has taken cognizance of a complaint filed by social activist and People Against Rapes in India (PARI) founder Yogita Bhayana against the promoter of a company for allegedly blackmailing and sexually assaulting several girls on the pretext of giving them careers in modeling.
Bhayana had also written a complaint letter to NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma. The complaint letter said, “Through his company, he (Sunny Verma) invites the girls on the pretext of organizing a Miss Asia contest with a claim that the contest will launch them as models. To make it look genuine, his company has also been taking an entry fee of Rs 2,950. Once the girls apply, they are alluded by the female accomplices of Sunny Verma to submit their nude pictures in order to get the better ranking in the contest.”
It claimed that Verma, after receiving the pictures and sometimes even before, used to get in touch with the girls and ask for completely nude pictures and videos. Verma also used to imply as well as threaten the girls to submit to his sexual desires if they were interested in modeling as a career or wish to win the contest, it added.
“Once he established a physical relationship with the girls, he used to blackmail them for regular sexual favors. Many girls from across the country have suffered a sexual and mental assault from Sunny and his accomplices,” said the complaint citing several purported letters, texts, and audio clips from several girls as proof of this modus course of action of Sunny Verma and his company.