Rubbishing the allegations of sexual harassment levelled against him, film director-producer Mahesh Bhatt on Tuesday said that he appeared in front of the National Commission for Women (NCW) in connection with a sexual assault case filed against the promoter of IMG Ventures, a modelling firm.
Besides Bhatt, the notices were also issued to Urvashi Rautela, Rannvijay Sangha, Esha Gupta, Mouni Roy and Prince Narula in the case for recording the witness statements on a complaint against the promoter of IMG Ventures for allegedly blackmailing and sexually assaulting a number of girls on the pretext of giving them modelling careers.
The filmmaker issued a statement on Tuesday through his production house Vishesh Films and the same was also shared by the official Twitter account of the National Commission for Women.
Statement of @MaheshNBhatt after the hearing conducted by @NCWIndia. He has clarified that his images were misused without his permission & as promised to our Chairperson @sharmarekha, he has extended his support to our inquiry into the complaint filed against IMG Ventures. pic.twitter.com/AmIyQyDS6G— NCW (@NCWIndia) August 18, 2020
In his statement, Bhatt said that he had appeared before the Hon’ble Commission today in the context of the complaint filed by Ms Yogita Bhayana, founder of People against Rapes in India. The complaint was filed against Mr Sunny Verma, promoter of the company IMG Ventures. Bhatt added that he was summoned by the Commission after his name and images were used by IMG ventures for the promotion of their event Mr and Miss Glamour 2020, scheduled to be held in November 2020.
Bhatt alleges IMG Ventures used his images and name without his consent
“I was approached to attend this event as a Chief Guest, I had responded that in the current COVID 19 circumstances, I would not attend any event. I could give it thought closer to November, depending on the circumstances at the relevant time. I have neither entered into any agreement nor received any monetary consideration for the event. Unfortunately, my name and images were picked up from social media and misused concerning the event without my consent and authority. When I confronted them on this, they have apologized profusely and withdrawn all my images in association with the event,” the statement issued by Mahesh Bhatt read.
Issuing a clarification, Bhatt said that he no association with IMG Ventures, Sunny Verma, Mr and Miss Glamour 2020 and that his name and credibility should not be misused for “promotion of the event to lure participation of others.”
The 71-year-old director lauded the NCW for championing the cause of “vulnerability and exploitation of women” and extended his “full cooperation” to the commission. “As a father of three girls, I have the highest regard for the cause taken up by Ms Yogita and the National Commission for Women and express my full cooperation for the crusade.”