Indian Business Association, which organized the India Day Parade in Edison, New Jersey on August 13, has instituted an inquiry about allegations of harassment by actress Bipasha Basu.
Heading the Committee is Judge Richard Plechner; a former Superior Court Judge with decades of experience with the US Legal System. Others in the panel are Smita (Micky) Patel, a local philanthropist who also teaches dance to New Jersey children, and Jyotindra Patel, chairman Board of Trustees of Gandhi Temple.
The investigation committee is independent of the IBA and has been given expansive power to investigate the matter in a comprehensive manner, a statement by IBA said.
"No time frame is stipulated to conclude the investigation," Satish Poondi, a spokesperson of IBA said, adding, however, that the IBA expected it to be done at the earliest.
He said Bipasha had not made any formal complaint to the organization. But other sources said that she had hired an attorney in the United States, though she has not filed any complaint with the police so far.
'The Indian Business Association takes the allegations made by very seriously. As an Association with over 15 years of experience representing the community and fighting for the community, the IBA announced within hours of Bipasha's allegations that it would appoint an independent investigation board to review all facts and conduct a comprehensive investigation,' the statement said.
Unconfirmed reports said that Bipasha claimed that she was harassed in the car for three and a half hours. But those close to the accused denied the allegations stating that Bipasha was angry right from the moment she got into the limousine.
The movie star was scheduled to lead the parade through Oak Tree Road, a centre of Indian businesses, as Grand Marshall. But she did not turn up for the parade, which started at 3 pm. The organisers said she would join at the stage at the end of the parade, which was led by Edison Mayor Jun Choi, Congressman Frank Pallone, Woodbridge Mayor Joseph Vitale and others.
Before the parade reached the venue near Middlesex Avenue in Iselin, New Jersey, Bipasha appeared on stage and accused the two organizers of harassing her physically and mentally.
"I wanted to attend the parade, but I could not," she said, adding that she was harassed physically and mentally in the car by two people who were taking her to the parade. The actress noted that she could not turn up for the parade after the bitter experience. "The event is to celebrate Independence Day of not only men but women also," she said.
At this point, one of the organisers intervened, and she stopped speaking. "See, they do not even want me to speak the truth," she said, leaving the stage in protest.
Poondi earlier said that Bipasha had breached the contract with the Indian Business Association. According to the contract, she was to attend the programmes on time. "She came two hours late for the programme organised on Saturday night and did not turn up for the parade," Poondi said.
Bipasha, who arrived in the United States on Saturday, left New York after the incident. She could not be contacted.