The Mumbai Police’s handling of actress and entrepreneur Preity Zinta’s complaint against her business partner Ness Wadia comes across as uneven, with a disproportionate focus on the woman who made the assault charge.
The behaviour of the police, perhaps under pressure from the media to investigate the case, raises serious concerns about the nature of the probe.
Zinta has accused Wadia of publicly humiliating and manhandling her. She also said he had threatened her. She filed a case of assault and verbal abuse under Section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of the IPC along with other sections. Five of the seven people named in the police complaint as witnesses have confirmed the same with the police.
Initially, the police said a team would be sent to Zinta’s house to record her statement.
Yet, when Zinta returned to the city from her US trip, the police insisted that she accompany them to Wankhede Stadium to reconstruct the case.
There is an anomaly here. A reconstruction of the case is done when there is no proof of the incident. The Mumbai Police had viewed the CCTV footage at the Wankhede stadium. What was the need for Zinta to go to the stadium?
In fact, the police should have question the accused. But, neither has Wadia been summoned to the police station, nor has his statement been recorded.
Sending the wrong message
India has been in the news for numerous cases of violence against women across various states, and for how the local police treat such cases lightly, especially if the accused belongs to an influential family.
Is the Zinta-Wadia case headed in the same direction? We hope not.
That the alleged victim has to go in public with cameras trailing her to prove her case, while the accused is out of the public eye, is a loud statement on the criminal justice system.