The man who allegedly molested actor Zaira Wasim on board a Delhi-Mumbai flight on Saturday night was arrested on Sunday after a huge public outcry over the incident prompted the Maharashtra State Commission for Women to seek an inquiry into the “shameful” incident.
The 39-year-old Vikas Sachdev was arrested late Sunday evening, police said. Deputy Commissioner of Police Anil Kumbhare said he will be produced in the court on Monday.
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 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 Directorate General of Civil Aviation 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 “Dangal” actor, who narrated her ordeal on Instagram.
Wasim said she was on a Vistara flight 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 a latest statement issued on Sunday 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.
Terming the incident as “shameful”, Maharashtra State Commission for Women’s chairperson Vijaya Rahatkar said they will seek a detailed inquiry into it from the DGCA.
Rahatkar said there should also be an inquiry into why the cabin crew did not help the actor.
Image: Zaira Wasim narrated her ordeal via an Instagram video. Photograph: Zaira Wasim/Instagram