"The case is totally false and I have been framed in the matter."
In early July 2019, the Andheri Metropolitan Court sentenced actress Koena Mitra to six months in prison in relation to a bounced cheque.
She was also asked to pay Rs. 4.64 Lakh (£5,400), including an interest component of Rs. 1.64 Lakh (£1,900) to the complainant, model Poonam Sethi.
In 2013, Sethi filed a case against Mitra after her cheque bounced for “want of funds”.
However, Koena denied the allegations and after her sentence, she is expected to challenge the judgement.
She said: “My advocate has to appear for the final argument, too, and the magistrate didn’t give me a chance. We will challenge this order in the higher court.”
While passing the order, Magistrate Ketaki Chavan rejected almost all of Koena’s arguments.
Among the contentions raised on Mitra’s behalf, a major one was that Poonam did not have enough financial capacity to lend Rs. 22 Lakh (£25,500).
The court heard that the actress borrowed Rs. 22 Lakh from Poonam over time.
When it came to repaying the loan, Koena gave Sethi a cheque for Rs. 3 Lakh (£3,500), but the cheque bounced.
On July 19, 2013, Sethi sent a legal notice to the actress but she failed to repay the amount. The model subsequently filed a complaint on October 10, 2013.
During the hearing, Koena Mitra denied the allegations and defended herself but stating Poonam did not have the financial capacity to lend the money and that she stole her cheques.
However, her defence was not accepted. Magistrate Chavan noted Mitra’s arguments and stated that they were mutually contradictory.
The court also explained that Koena could not prove that Sethi had stolen her cheques and added that it was not mentioned in her reply to the legal notice.
The court said: “Furthermore, in the present matter, said cheque is not dishonoured on the count of ‘payment stopped by drawer’.
“It is dishonoured on the count of ‘funds insufficient’. If at all, it is presumed that the complainant took the cheques from the accused’s house, which was blank and misused them, then the option of stopping the payment was very well available with the accused.
“Thus, the conduct of accused prior and subsequent to the dishonoured of said cheque constrained me to hold that this defence is an afterthought and taken only to evade the liability.”
After being sentenced, Koena Mitra said her lawyer was not present so her argument was not heard.
She said: “The case is totally false and I have been framed in the matter.
“It is a court matter, so obviously we will go to the higher court to challenge the order.”
“The higher court will give us an order (and) only then can we talk about it. Right now, I don’t have anything to say except that it’s a fraud case and I am being framed.”
Mumbai Mirror reported that the actress’s lawyers are in the process of appealing the sentence.