MUMBAI: Vikas Sachdeva, the 41-year-old consultant who was accused of molesting a Bollywood actress, was sentenced to three years imprisonment on Wednesday by the POCSO court at Dindoshi in Mumbai.
Special Judge A D Deo, hearing cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, held Sachdev guilty under outraging modesty of a woman (Section 354 of Indian Penal Code) and provisions of the POCSO Act, since the victim was 17 years old when the incident took place in December 2017.
Sachdeva was sentenced to three years in prison and fined Rs 25,500 even as his counsel argued that he had a good nature, he was a first-time offender and sole breadwinner of his household.
The counsel later said that Sachdeva has option of appeal before a higher court.
While the prosecution sought maximum punishment, the actor didn’t complete the key procedure of identification of the accused in the court. The victim, who was also one of the witnesses in the case, deposed during court proceedings but, did not return to complete a crucial procedure of identification of the accused despite repeated attempts by the prosecution and police.
The defence produced only one witness: the wife of the accused.
It argued that Sachdeva had taken a day-long trip to Delhi to attend a funeral, was tired and was sleeping on the flight with his leg on the armrest.
Three of the seven prosecution witnesses too said that Sachdeva slept throughout the flight.
However, the court held up the prosecution’s side.
The victim had alleged that she was molested by a co-passenger on board an Air Vistara flight from Delhi to Mumbai and narrated her ordeal on Instagram via a live video.
The victim, in her post, said a co-passenger sitting behind her put up his feet on her armrest.
“So, I was in a flight travelling from Delhi to Mumbai today and right behind me one middle-aged man who made my two-hour journey miserable. I tried to record it on phone to understand it better because the cabin lights were dimmed, I failed to get it...," she said.
"The lights were dimmed, so it was even worse. It continued for another five to ten minutes and then I was sure of it. He kept nudging my shoulder and continued to move his foot up and down my back and neck,” she said in the video post, following the incident.