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Amidst the ongoing #MeToo compaign, Vikas Bahl who was accused of sexual assault by a former employee at Phantom has called his former partners Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane as opportunists for using the allegations to defame him.
As per a Mumbai Mirror report, Bahl has slapped Kashyap and Motwane with a two separate, but similarly worded legal notices via email wherein he accused them of, firstly, running a campaign to defame him and of using it as a pretext to shut down Phantom Films and making him look responsible for the production house's failure.
The 'Queen' director in a notice issued through Advocate Shamsher Garud of Jayakar and Partners, alleged 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," read the notice.
The notice alleged 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," it read.
Vikas also 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].
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."
It further reads that Vikramaditya 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 threatens to file civil and/or criminal defamation against Kashyap and Motwane if they do not withdraw their "messages [on social media] and tender an unconditional apology to Bahl."