"This is terrible. No one will help up if we don't decide to help ourselves."
Police have arrested an Indian man in connection with allegations of molestation, made by Bollywood actress Zaira Wasim.
She claims that an individual had molested her on a plane, that flew from Delhi to Mumbai. The flight took place on 10th December 2017.
On her Instagram Story, she posted a series of pictures and videos which detailed the incident. Zaira explained how “a middle-aged man” ran his foot up and down her back, while she was “half asleep”.
She also claimed he prodded her shoulder and stuck his foot through the gap of the window and her seat. The starlet tired to record the incident but the lighting was too dark.
The Dangal actress recounted: “It was all chill till I felt somebody brushing against my back while I was half asleep. I ignored it the first time. Blamed the turbulence for it.
“Until I woke me up to this PLEASANT SIGHT of his Beautiful foot rubbing my back and neck.”
The man continued with his alleged behaviour for reportedly ten minutes.
Throughout her Story, Zaira looked visibly upset and said: “This is terrible. No one will help us if we don’t decide to help ourselves.”
Soon after posting on social media, the actress’ footage became trending. It prompted a police investigation, while the plane’s airline, Vistara posted a statement on Twitter.
The flight company apologised to Zaira and explained:
“It appears crew only became aware of something amiss during final descent when they seated for landing.”
However, Vistara added it would investigate the matter, saying:
Official Statement: Update #2 pic.twitter.com/9VQOjzGTOK
— Vistara (@airvistara) December 10, 2017
During the evening of 10th December, police arrested an Indian man after Vistara staff reportedly helped to identify him.
Media outlets have identified him as 39-year-old Vikas Sachdeva. He is allegedly a senior executive of a Mumbai-based entertainment company.
Officers charged him under the IPC and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).
Outlets also report that the man told police he was asleep during the flight.
He explained that he was returning from a funeral and hadn’t slept in a long time. After asking the crew not to disturb him, he fell alseep and didn’t eat food during the flight.
Vikas also added that his actions weren’t intentional and he apologised to Zaira on the plane.
His defence lawyer HS Anand argued that the case shouldn’t have been registered under Section 8 of the POCSO Act. Anand also questioned why the actress didn’t alert airline staff, or tell airport officials after the flight.
Also, the lawyer explained that both Vikas and Zaira travlled on business class. The height of the seats for this section wouldn’t allegedly allow a person to keep their legs on the chair and touch someone sitting in the front row.
The accused’s wife Divya has also spoken on the incident:
“His mamaji (maternal uncle) 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 (the actor’s) allegation. The police have taken my husband into custody.”
HS Anad concluded that the allegations were ‘a publicity stunt’. He added that Vikas has no criminal background and is happily married.
Police will continue their investigations on the allegations.