MUMBAI: The Bombay HC on Tuesday admitted a flyer’s appeal against his conviction for sexual assault of a child actor in mid-air, suspended the sentence and continued his bail.
When the appeal by Vikas Sachdeva, a former senior executive of an entertainment firm, came up before Justice Prithviraj Chavan, he granted bail of Rs 25,000 with two sureties of like amount, but directed him not to leave the city without court permission.
“There is no scope of the appeal being heard and decided in the near future and since the sentence imposed is short, it stands suspended,” the HC said.
On January 15, special trial court judge A D Deo had held Sachdeva, 41, guilty under Section 8 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act. He had been accused of putting up his foot and touching the 17-year-old co-passenger, sitting ahead of him in the business class, on her shoulder and neck on a flight from Delhi to Mumbai in December 2017. Relying on the complainant’s deposition, the judge had convicted Sachdeva and sentenced him to three years’ imprisonment. He was granted bail.
On Tuesday, Justice Chavan asked why the Pocso victim be disbelieved. Sachdeva’s counsel Aniket Nikam argued there was “no independent evidence” to support her case and that her deposition was “shrouded in omissions and improvements”.
(The victim’s identity has not been revealed to protect her privacy as per Supreme court directives on cases related to sexual assault)