Mumbai: Divya Sachdev, the wife of Vikas Sachdev, who was on Sunday arrested for allegedly molesting Zaira Wasim on board a Delhi-Mumbai flight, has accused the Dangal actress of doing a publicity stunt.
“This girl has been influenced by fame and wrongly accused my husband Vikas,” spotboye.com quoted Divya as saying.
39-year-old Vikas was arrested yesterday after a huge public outcry over the incident prompted the Maharashtra State Commission for Women to seek an enquiry into the “shameful” incident.
He will be produced in the court today.
Talking to the website, Divya said that her husband was coming to Mumbai from Delhi. “His mama ji had passed away and he was not in the right frame of mind. He was feeling very low and asked for a blanket. He wanted to sleep. I am shocked at Zaira’s allegation. The police have taken my husband into custody.”
“Why did Zaira not raise an alarm then and there? Why did Zaira tweet two hours later? Zaira had her mother for company. Despite that, the two ladies chose not to make any noise, why?”
She added: “My father is an ex-Army officer and my father-in-law is an ex-Income Tax officer. We know how important it is to respect a lady, our family upholds very high values. My husband is a family man. We have a nine-year-old child. Vikas can never misbehave with any lady in any manner.”
The lady later told news agency ANI that her husband was “innocent and had no intention to molest”.
“He hadn’t slept for 24 hours. He had asked the crew not to disturb and wanted to sleep. His foot was on the armrest, but not with an intention to harass,” said the wife of the accused.
“We want justice,” she added.
Vikas Sachdev has been booked under Section 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of IPC, and relevant sections of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) since the actor is a minor, Senior Police Inspector, Sahar, Lata Shirsat, said.
The airline–Vistara–said it has submitted an initial report to the regulator DGCA about the incident which created an uproar and invited all-round condemnation.
Vistara, which is a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, regretted the “unfortunate experience” and apologised to Wasim.
It also said senior members of the management team have been flown to Mumbai to meet the National Award winning Kashmiri actress, who narrated her ordeal on Instagram.
Wasim said she was on a Vistara flight on Saturday night from Delhi to Mumbai when a co-passenger sitting behind her put his feet on her armrest.
“We are deeply concerned and regret the unfortunate experience Zaira Wasim had onboard our flight last night. We continue to give this case our highest attention and are extending our full support to all relevant authorities for the investigations underway,” the airline said in the statement issued late last evening.
In addition, Vistara has submitted an initial report to the DGCA and also given all necessary details to the police, the airline said.
In the video, which Wasim recorded immediately after deboarding the flight, the 17-year-old actor broke down several times.
“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,” the Kashmiri teen, who shot to fame for her stellar performance in Aamir Khan’s blockbuster “Dangal”, said in the post.
“This is not done, I am disturbed… Is this how you’re going to take care of girls? This is not the way anybody should be made to feel. This is terrible!” she said.
“No one will help us if we don’t decide to help ourselves. And this is the worst thing,” she added.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said she was “appalled” by the incident and demanded swift action against the culprit.
“Any harassment/crime against women should be dealt with swiftly and effectively. As a mother of two daughters, I am appalled at what happened with @zairawasimz. Hope the relevant authorities take strict action,” she tweeted.