Mumbai: Playback singer Ankit Tiwari, who was arrested on rape charges, was seen performing at an annual Mumbai Police event in suburban Andheri on Sunday.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and a number of policemen, including Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria, last night attended ‘Umang-2015’ where a galaxy of Bollywood stars perform for men and women in uniform. Fadnavis, however, had left the venue by the time Tiwari arrived on the stage. Tiwari, along with his co-performer, sung a number from soon-to-be released horror flick ‘Alone’ for the audience at the Andheri Sports Complex.
Asked about Tiwari’s participation in the event, an IPS officer said it would be checked as to who invited Tiwari. “We usually avoid performance (in the programme) by a person facing criminal charges. We will check who invited Ankit. However, a fair investigation will be conducted into the rape charges against him,” the official said. The 25-year-old singer was arrested in May last year for allegedly raping his girlfriend on several occasions, after promising to marry her.
Ankit’s brother Ankur had also been arrested for allegedly threatening the victim with dire consequences if she made the sexual assault public. Tiwari was booked under Sections 376 (rape) and 506(2) (criminal intimidation) of the IPC, while his brother was charged with criminal intimidation. Both are currently out on bail.
The singer’s manager Gayatri Sonalkar confirmed the singer performed at the event last night. When enquired about the case, Tiwari’s lawyer Nagesh Mishra said, “Ankit has filed a writ petition in the Bombay High Court for quashing of the FIR against him. The court is hearing the matter. Police have not filed a chargesheet in the case. We are positive that the case will be quashed.” Asked about the status of the case, Versova Police Station senior inspector Arundhati Rane said, “I need to check the matter.”
Joint Police Commissioner (Law & Order), Dhananjay Kamalakar refused to comment when asked why an accused was allowed to perform at the event. Meanwhile, a women’s rights activist and lawyer, Abha Singh, strongly protested the performance of the singer who is facing rape charge. “This is highly condemnable. Mumbai Police should not have done this. It sends a wrong message. You are promoting a person involved in a crime against woman. There are so many complaints that police are insensitive towards the crimes against women. This should be taken very seriously. Inquiry needs to be ordered to check who has allowed him to attend the event,” Singh said. “We had protested when actor Salman Khan, facing criminal case had performed at ‘Umang’. Ankit’s performance should be deleted before being aired on television,” she added.