Shankar Mishra, the man accused of urinating on an elderly woman co-passenger on an Air India flight, on Friday denied the charge against him in a Delhi court, saying that the complainant urinated on herself.
Delhi Police registered an FIR against Mishra on January 4 on a complaint given by the woman to Air India. According to the FIR, shortly after lunch was served and the lights were switched off onboard the New York-Delhi AI 102 flight on November 26, 2022, the inebriated male passenger seated in business class seat 8A walked to the elderly woman’s seat, unzipped his pants and urinated on her.
The case has been filed under sections 294 (obscene act in public place), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) and 510 (misconduct in public by a drunken person) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well as under Aircraft Rules.
Since then, the case has witnessed a series of allegations and counter-allegations.
‘She urinated on herself’
Mishra’s latest bizarre claim came in a Delhi court on Friday.
“She (the complainant) urinated herself. She suffers from a problem that most Kathak dancers have. When she realised what happened, she didn’t know what happened,” his lawyer said.
The stunning claim came in response to a notice by the sessions court on an application by the Delhi Police requesting custody for questioning him. He had been sent to 14-day judicial remand on Saturday by a court that turned down the police’s request for custody.
Calling the statement “stupid and ridiculous”, Kathak dancer Shovana Narayan, in a conversation with News18, questioned how the woman could have urinated on herself.
“A person peeing has nothing to do with vocation…. It’s a very stupid, baseless and ridiculous argument. How can she pee on herself? She could only have peed into the seat. ‘On herself’ is different from peeing ‘into a seat’,” Narayan said.
A Delhi sessions court had on Wednesday denied bail to Mishra while calling his act “utterly disgusting and repulsive". Metropolitan Magistrate Komal Garg said the act has shocked the civic consciousness of people and needed to be deprecated.
No sexual desire vs threats
During the arguments on Wednesday, Mishra’s counsel said his act was not driven by sexual desire nor aimed at outraging the complainant’s modesty.
On the other hand, the complainant’s counsel has claimed she was being threatened. “I’m regularly receiving messages, threatening me. Accused’s father sent me a message and said ‘karma will hit you’ and then deleted the message. They’re sending me messages and deleting it. This needs to stop… Air India instead of separating the accused and complainant, tried to mediate the crime,” her counsel told the court on Wednesday.
The complainant’s counsel also alleged that the woman is unable to stay in Bengaluru as the accused’s family is threatening her not only by messages but also by coming to her house.
He further said the accused offended her and has the “audacity to say I was not a victim. I had sought FIR. It was based on his influence that the FIR was not registered”.
Shankar Mishra’s lawyer, however, rejected the charges and said that the victim woman’s son-in-law asked the accused to pay the full plane fare.
“Her (the victim woman’s) son-in-law, a New York-based professor, wrote me a mail saying I was to pay the full plane fare. I had paid for dry cleaning. But after the mail from son-in-law, the money (the accused had paid by way of compensation) was returned,” Mishra’s counsel said.
Paid vs returned
Earlier, Mishra’s lawyers on January 6 stated that he paid the complainant Rs 15,000 as compensation and got her belongings cleaned.
However, WhatsApp exchanges between the woman’s daughter and Mishra showed the family had returned the money.
During interrogation, Mishra had told the police that he did not remember anything about the incident since he was sleepy. It was only when other passengers on the flight told him about his act that he apologised to the victim, officials had said on Saturday.
Mishra also admitted that he was under the influence of alcohol. He claimed that while travelling in the US, he and his friend took turns driving a car and he did not get proper sleep.
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