Just a month after courting controversy for resigning from the Oscar selection jury panel, filmmaker Rahul Rawail is once again in the news. This time, however, charges levelled against him range from outraging a woman’s modesty to cruelty against an animal.
Veteran filmmaker Rahul Rawail and Thea D’Souza
The filmmaker, who has delivered hit films like Love Story and Betaab, has been accused by his 20-year-old neighbour of insulting and abusing her. In her complaint, the girl also claimed that Rawail was furious at her and her roomies for sheltering a stray dog on society premises.
In the case registered by Thea D’Souza at the Bandra police station on Tuesday night, Rawail and his son have been accused of subjecting her to misbehaviour and verbal abuses for the last six months. She even claimed that Rawail had asked his driver to dispose of the stray.
D’Souza, a resident of Vaz Bungalow on Turner Road, claimed that the stray she and her roommates were taking care of went missing a fortnight ago, following which she wrote to the Bandra police. She even claimed that upon scrutinising the footage recorded by CCTV cameras installed on the society premises, the stray was last seen following Rawail’s driver.
Speaking to mid-day, D’Souza said, “Even my roommates — Anushree and Aditi — are being harassed by Rawail since we started caring for the stray. He has always used foul language while communicating with us. While we chose to ignore him out of respect, things went overboard in the last 15 days. We are scared that he might go to any extent.”
An officer from Bandra police station said that in her complaint, D’Souza claimed that Rawail and his son barged into their apartment around 2.30 am on October 10.
“She said the two wanted an explanation as to why the garbage thrown from her window had accumulated on their air conditioner. Initially the girls refused to open the door, but gave in after the duo started pounding the door. She claimed that Rawail not only used derogatory language, but also called her characterless for feeding and nursing a stray.”
An FIR (copy available with mid-day) has been lodged against Rawail and his son under Sections 452 (House-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint), 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 509 (Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of IPC.
“Since the stray dog is still missing, we are working towards getting certain IPC sections related to animal cruelty evoked against Rawail. As per the SC orders, a dog can stray in and around the society premises or street,” said Durga Roy, an animal activist. It was Roy who suggested D’Souza to file a complaint against Rawail after the latter sought her help.
The other side
“I don’t even know the complainant. I am not aware of what the complaint is or whether an actual complaint has been lodged against me. I haven’t received any call from the police so far, “ Rawail said.