Recently-released web series Paatal Lok, has received much critical acclaim. Produced by Anushka Sharma’s Clean Slate Films, Paatal Lok is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Bengali star Swastika Mukherjee has been basking in the success of the web series, where she was seen playing the role of Dolly Mehra, the much-ignored wife of Sanjeev Mehra (Neeraj Kabi).
The actor has been sharing her thoughts and journey with several media portals. In one such interview she quoted,
It took me 20-years to get noticed at the national level. I also received congratulatory calls from Vidya Balan and Aamir Khan for my performance in the series.
Well that’s her professional story but why does this Tollywood actor make it to our portal? Swastika was in the news due to her infamous false 498A case which she had filed against her brother-in-laws couple of decades ago.
Case Details In Brief:
Swastika married her husband Promit Sen in 1998. Promit was the son of Rabindra Sangeet singer, late Sagar Sen. A daughter was born to the couple in 2000 and the woman left her in-laws’ home the same year. Subsequently she filed 498A against her husband as well as brother-in-laws Pritam and Priyam.
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Both brothers were acquitted from charges of physical and mental torture by an Alipore court in 2005. Later, Pritam filed a damage suit of Rs 7.7 crores (USD 1mn approx) against Mukherjee for filing false charges and falsely implicating and publicly maligning their image. All through the court hearings, Pritam had also suffered a huge financial loss.
During this trial, Swastika failed to appear in court and later her counsel told the judge how she was not submitted any copy. On other hand, when the process counsel had gone to her home to hand over the copy, she refused to take the same and also unleashed her dog on him. The court agreed that the woman’s defence was not made truthfully and rejected the same, directing the case to be heard ex-parté.
Swastika had then rendered an unconditional apology then for contempt of court.
The trial court directed Swastika to pay the amount to Pritam in 2007 and she moved the high court against the verdict.
Later in April 2009, as reported by The Telegraph, a Calcutta High Court division bench comprising of Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghosh and Justice S.P. Mitra upheld the trial court’s order that actress Swastika Mukherjee would go “undefended” in the Rs 7.7-crore damages suit filed by her brother-in-law Pritam Sen.
However, Swastika was not ready to give up. The actress then told the media,
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We had filed an appeal against the case and it has been rejected. It doesn’t mean the final verdict is out. I can’t comment further because we are yet to receive a copy of the court order and the matter is sub judice.
The damages suit had been dragging on in the trial court since 2005 after Pritam was discharged from the false 498A case. On the basis of the bailiff’s report, the high court issued an arrest warrant against Swastika in January that year, which prompted the actress to turn up in court, apologise and also pay a fine of Rs 8,500.
Swastika then appealed to the division bench against Justice Sinha’s order, which was dismissed as well.
Subsequently the actress confessed in a media conference that the dowry harassment allegations she made against her estranged husband were false, apparently bringing a closure to an episode that has been playing out amidst full media glare for ten years. She quoted,
I was young, I did not have enough sense back then and I did what my family, friends and peers advised me to do.
Pritam too had attended this conference and quoted,
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Things started to go wrong around two years after their marriage, when like a bolt from the blue my brother, our family and even me, who all lived in different places, were charged by her for dowry related crimes
We went through hell for the past ten years. So many arrest warrants, all the expenses and the defamation aside, my brother is never going to get back the last ten years. He’s totally mentally devastated.
Pritam also said though Swastika had issued a press release which after being published in the media made it seem as if the two parties had reached a compromise and were heading for divorce which was definitely not the case. Hence he was a part of the current press conference “to come clean”.
Swastika ended the same by saying,
I am deeply sorry for all that Promit and his family has had to go through. I hope he can move on.
Status As On Date
As per sources, the decree of Rs 7.7 crore has not yet been executed. It’s still executable. The false dowry case was finally quashed by Supreme Court. However, the divorce remains pending even after 20-years despite SC ordering of a consent divorce.
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Swastika has not appeared for a 2nd motion before the family court after having filed the divorce by mutual consent petition.
Shop Lifting Controversy
In 2017, the Darpan film festival of Singapore which is supposed to be an event that makes Tollywood proud, with Bengali films from the industry being screened for the international audience became the centre of a major controversy, involving Swastika Mukherjee. It was alleged, that a pair of earrings costing 250 dollars that went missing from a Singapore boutique was last seen in the hands of the Tollywood actor.
This old case was once again refreshed first by documentary filmmaker Deepika Bhardwaj via her twitter account.
Since World Forgets : She filed a FALSE dowry case on Pramit Sen, her ex husband in 1998, destroyed his & his families life completely making them do rounds of courts for 10 years, never paid damages granted to them by court & totally alienated daughter from father. Liars Bloom https://t.co/tiTKOzTesO
— Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj (@DeepikaBhardwaj) June 12, 2020
Bhardwaj who has directed a documentary on the misuse of Section 498A said,
I wanted to include this case in #MartyrsofMarriage but such was trauma of Pramit & his brother Pritam who fought this battle tooth & nail, that they never wanted to recount those painful memories. It ruined Pramits career completely. I still remember how sad I felt for him.