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Indian police file rape case against Bollywood actor Alok Nath


November 21st, 2018

Alok Nath appeared in Richard Attenborough’s film Gandhi.

Police have filed a case against a Bollywood actor in what is the thought to be the first rape proceedings to be formally registered among dozens of recent sexual misconduct allegations.

The case against Alok Nath, who made his professional debut in Richard Attenborough’s Oscar-winning film Gandhi, is one in a storm of allegations emerging in recent weeks, which activists have hailed as the arrival of the country’s #MeToo moment.

Nath, 62, was accused in a detailed Facebook post by producer Vinta Nanda of violently sexually assaulting her after a party 19 years ago. She did not name Nath but said the “predator in question” had been the star of a well-known Hindi television serial that Nath had fronted. Nanda later confirmed his identity.

Nath, known for playing warm father figures as well as for presenting Hindu religious programming, denies the allegations and is suing Nanda for defamation. He has demanded an apology, a restraining order and a symbolic payout of one rupee.

The industry’s peak body, the Cine and TV Artistes Association, expelled Nath last month.

The case filed on Wednesday is a first information report, indicating the beginning of a police investigation. Nath is likely to be summoned by police in Mumbai for questioning later this week.

Nanda’s allegations were among several aired on social media and in newspapers and magazines in the past month against prominent men from India’s entertainment and media industries.

Among those named was Mobashar Jawed Akbar, India’s junior foreign minister and a former newspaper editor, who more than 20 women have accused of misconduct including inappropriate touching, forcible kissing and pressuring them to have sex.

Akbar denies any wrongdoing and has sued one of his accusers for defamation. He resigned last month, saying it would be inappropriate to fight the defamation case while serving in government.