Namaste England director Vipul Shah, who was accused of sexual harassment by Sacred Games' actress Elnaaz Norouzi, has been given a clean chit by the Indian Film And Television Directors' Association (IFTDA) after interrogation by the Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) Committee.
The IFTDA'S letter published in Bombay Times, states that Elnaaz Norouzi had refused to cooperate and disclose the facts about the nature of the alleged sexual harassment before the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) even after Shah was ready to face Elnaaz and the consequences if found guilty. Her actions led the committee to absolve Vipul Shah of any impropriety, unethical conduct and the allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment.
"We are pleased to inform you that after interrogation by the POSH Committee in its meeting held on February 12, and Ms Elnaaz Norouzi's reply dated January 26, obstructing the cause of natural justice by refusing to disclose the facts, the Internal Complaints Committee unanimously gave its recommendation, which is: 'Ms Elnaaz Norouzi has not cooperated with the POSH enquiry, therefore the ICC is left with no option but to proceed ex parte and to pass an ex parte order dismissing the allegations against Mr Vipul Amrutlal Shah and to absolve him of any impropriety or improper and unethical conduct and the allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment. The efficacy, correctness and purpose of the allegations made in the news report remain unverified," read the IFTDA'S letter.
IFTDA's president Ashoke Pandit too said that Elnaaz failed to show up during the meeting to face Shah and prove her allegations against him. But Pandit said that she instead wrote back to them saying that she would approach them when she feels the need to. Pandit said that they were unbiased and gender neutral while coming to the decision. He also spoke about Sajid Khan's case where victims had participated in the investigation and was later found guilty.
"Vipul, the accused in this case, approached us and participated in the investigation. He was willing to face Elnaaz in the hearing, and was ready for the consequences if he was found guilty. On the contrary, the victim didn't show up and wrote back to us that she will approach us when she feels the need to. We, at IFTDA, have gone by the book, formed our ICC in keeping with the POSH Act's provisions and we are unbiased and gender neutral. We have legal representatives in the committee to guide us to find the right solutions in every matter. In Sajid Khan's case, the women who accused him participated in the investigation, after which he was found guilty. The industry stood by what was decided because it was an impartial outcome," Ashoke Pandit told the daily.
In October, last year, the Iranian model-turned-actor had told Mid-Day how the director kept her hanging for three months on the pretext of signing her as a second lead in the film and sexually harassed her multiple times during auditions. She said that Vipul would try to kiss her on various occasions and had grabbed her butt and pulled her towards him when he had called her to Patiala for another audition.