Reported by Sandeep Sahu
Bhubaneswar, Feb 4:
The businessman from Odisha accused of sexual misconduct on a Bhubaneswar bound Indigo flight on January 27 has claimed that he is being ‘framed’.
“I am being well and truly framed. But I have complete faith in the Indian legal system. I am sure the law will take its own course and the truth will come out. I am confident that I will be exonerated,” Ravindra Jhunjhunwala told OST today.
Asked what the ‘truth’ was, Jhunjhunwala was evasive saying; “As you know, the case is sub judice and it will not be proper for me to talk about it at this stage,” he said.
A lady from the neighbouring state of Jharkhand had filed a case against Juhnjhunwala, an industrialist based in Singapore, at a police station here accusing him of repeatedly ‘touching her inappropriately’ through the gap in the seat during a flight from Mumbai to Bhubaneswar on January 27. The man was seated right behind her on the flight.
As the aeroplane was touching down on the Biju Patnaik International Airport here, the lady had confronted Jhunjhunwala in full view of other passengers. She also shot a video of her confrontation with Jhunjhunwala on her mobile phone, which has gone viral on the social media.
It shows Jhunjhunwala cowering in his seat trying to cover his face as the lady harangued him on his sexual act with other passengers looking on.
After getting down from the plane, the lady had first sounded out CISF, the security agency in charge of airport security, before lodging a formal complaint at the Airfield police station here. He was briefly arrested, but was let out on bail the same day.
Explaining Jhunjhunwala’s prompt release, Bhubaneswar police commissioner Dr RP Sharma has attributed it to the fact that he had been booked under section 354 (A) of the Indian Penal Code, which is a bailable offence.
“In any case, the flight had left Bhubaneswar by the time the complaint was lodged and there was no way we could have verified the allegation immediately. But we will certainly question the crew members of the Indigo flight and passengers who travelled in the flight and file a charge sheet soon,” Sharma had said yesterday.
Jhunjhunwala had given an undertaking that he would fully cooperate with the investigation and will be available for questioning whenever required by the police, Sharma had said. He had also surrendered his passport to the police.
The commissioner also revealed that Jhunjhunwala has had sexual misconduct charges against him earlier too. “We have sought the records of previous cases filed against him in Rourkela from the local police,” he said.
Asked about these previous charges, Jhunjhunwala told OST that it was not ‘proper’ to link two different cases. “I am not aware what the commissioner has said. But let them spell out these cases and I am ready to answer them separately,” he said.
About the possibility of the incident affecting his career as a businessman, he said; “Frankly, I don’t really know. I leave it for you decide. But I can assure you I have been getting a lot of support from my friends, who know me.”