Man who molested Zaira Wasim on plane handed 3 year jail sentence

A 41-year-old Indian businessman has been sentenced to three years in prison for molesting a former Bollywood actress on a flight in 2017. Vikas Sachdev, the accused, was caught repeatedly moving his foot up and down her neck and back while she was “half-asleep” in her seat.

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He was convicted under child protection laws since the actress was 17 at the time of the incident.

While the actress cannot be named under Indian laws which prohibit identifying victims of sexual assault, in 2017, Amir Khan’s Dangal co-star and a rising Bollywood actor who recently quit acting, Zaira Wasim, penned a revealing Instagram post where she documented the harassment she faced on a two-hour flight from Delhi to Mumbai.

Wasim shared an image of a foot stretched out on her armrest. She described that while she was sleeping on the flight, she woke up to a foot rubbing against her back and neck.

The actor shared on her Instagram story that “one middle-aged man made my 2-hour journey miserable”, before she dived into details of what ensued.

“It was all chill till I felt somebody brushing against my back while I was half asleep. I ignored it the first time. Blamed the turbulence for it. Until I woke up to this unpleasant sight of his beautiful foot rubbing my back and neck,” she added.

The airline in question, Air Vastara, was quick to respond and shared on Twitter that they “are carrying out detailed investigation and will support Zaira in every way required. We have zero-tolerance for such behaviour.”

Zaira had said that she blamed the turbulence at first but was later woken by his foot touching her neck. She shared a video of herself after the flight, in which she was visibly upset. “This is terrible,” she said. “No one will help us if we don’t decide to help ourselves.”

She tried to film Sachdev, but it was too dark to see his face. Police arrested him after he was reportedly identified with help from the airline.

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