Support for Vikas Sachdeva, the 39-year-old entertainment executive who allegedly molested a 17-year old actor Zaira Waseem on board a Delhi-Mumbai flight last Saturday, has been growing on social media, even as his neighbours have launched a signature campaign.
Pages like ‘Justice for Vikas Sachdeva’ have surfaced on Facebook and Twitter, with users, who know Mr. Sachdeva personally, and also those who have been following the case, otherwise, have been posting statuses and tweets in his support.
“I am Vikas Sachdeva’s neighbour and I have known him for the last five years. He is a very nice person, always friendly and very helpful to all. He has always shown respect to women and it is impossible that he can molest anyone. I have faith in the judicial system and expect justice for this innocent man,” Bhavna Singh said on the ‘Justice for Vikas Sachdeva’ page.
Users have also slammed the police for charging Mr. Sachdeva under Section 8 of the POCSO Act which is for sexual assault on a minor. A Twitter user said, “What is this sufficient evidence? A selfie video of the actress crying? Vikas Sachdeva’s foot did not even move in that entire video. Just because she is crying, you filed a POCSO case against a person?”
Some people are calling for a boycott of the actor’s movies, as well. “I know this family. I can proudly say that anyone who knows Mr. Sachdeva will only speak about his politeness and gentle behavior with everyone. This lady should be banned in the film industry as well as should be strictly punished by the law as soon as she is proved wrong. She has no right to play with a common man’s character just for a publicity stunt,” Supriya Ashiwani said in a social media post.
A signature campaign initiated by residents of Yarrow Building at Nahar Amrit Shakti, Chandivali, where Mr. Sachdeva resides, last week saw more than 200 people signing up and demanding justice for the professional. The signatures will be handed over to authorities demanding justice.
Mr. Sachdeva’s wife Divya said, “The support from social media is definitely a source of emotional and mental strength for the family. A lot of people are relating to us and our plight. A common man cannot be exploited this way. I am very obliged and thankful to all those who have been supporting us. Today it was us, tomorrow it can be anybody.”
Mr. Sachdeva, who was remanded in judicial custody until December 22 on Wednesday, has been booked under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code for assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty and Section 8 of the POCSO Act, which is for sexual assault on a minor.
The actor had alleged that Mr. Sachdeva rubbed his feet against her back and neck during the flight. His lawyer, H.S. Anand, had called the detention illegal and the incident to be a case of false implication to gain publicity.
Earlier Today, A special court will pass orders on Tuesday on a bail plea filed by a senior executive, Vikas Sachdeva, accused of sexually harassing a minor co-passenger while travelling business class on a Delhi-Mumbai flight.
On Monday, Sachdeva’s lawyer, Harminder Anand, argued that bail ought to be granted as not only was there no case made out against him under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, it would be a travesty of justice if his judicial custody was continued.
“There is a distance of a foot and a half from the armrest to a neck,” Anand said, adding that allegations that Sachdeva rubbed the minor co-passenger’s neck from a seat behind in the business class did not even sound right. He said Sachdeva was asleep and “a man in sleep is like a dead person who can’t be said to have sexual intent”.
Munna Inamdar, the prosecutor, opposed Sachdeva’s bail plea on the grounds that he may tamper with the evidence and threaten the witness. Anand said that his client was a family man and unlikely to threaten anyone.
Sachdeva was arrested on December 10; currently he is in judicial custody till Friday.
The minor, an actor, was travelling with her mother on a late-night flight on December 9. She was allegedly harassed by Sachdeva when the cabin lights dimmed in preparation for landing.