The latest entrant to the 498A club is none other than Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal. A dowry harassment case has been filed against India’s one of the most successful entrepreneurs by his wife Priya Bansal, who is a dentist by profession.
A first information report (FIR) was filed on 28 February at Koramangala police station in Bengaluru against Sachin Bansal, father Sat Prakash Agarwal, bother Nitin Bansal and mother Kiran Bansal for demanding “dowry” and gifts at the time of the wedding.
Charges Alleged By Wife
- Priya Bansal, the complainant, has alleged that her father had spent ₹50 lakh on the wedding and had given Sachin ₹11 lakh in cash instead of a car
- She also alleged that her husband was pressurising her to transfer properties in her name to him, and after she refused to do so, she was harassed by her in-laws
- The complainant also alleged physical and sexual assault charges on the accused
- She also alleged that when Sachin had been to Delhi, he sexually harassed her sister as well
- Priya further alleged that when she refused to transfer the properties to Sachin, his parents and his brother also harassed her
- She has alleged that he harassed her in 2019 as well
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In her FIR, Priya Bansal said,
Post wedding, it was decided that it I will stay with my husband. Before the wedding, in-laws visited my home and asked for more dowry. My husband and in-laws have been giving me mental and physical torture since the wedding for dowry. When my sister Radhika Goyal was in Delhi, Sachin had sexually assaulted her.
Sachin had tried to transfer all properties in my name to his name and when I refused, Sachin had physically assaulted me on 20 October 2019. I have been tortured mentally and physically by in-laws for dowry.
The police may soon call Sachin Bansal for the investigation. An official quoted to the media saying,
We are yet to interrogate the family since they are out of station and the investigation is on. Cannot reveal more info on investigation. Case has been registered under 498(a) (husband’s family inflicting cruelty and driving victim to suicide or cause grave injury ) and 314 DP act.
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Sachin Bansal meanwhile has applied for bail on February 29 and the order on his plea will be delivered on Thursday (today).
Sachin Bansal, who exited Flipkart during its acquisition in 2018 by Walmart netted $1 billion by selling his stake. After his exit from Flipkart, he has been betting on digital banking through Navi Technologies, which he started in December 2018 as BAC Acquisitions with Ankit Agarwal by investing $450 million into Navi. Sachin has also invested in several startups including $100 million in Ola. His other investments include electric scooter startup Ather, InShorts, Grey Orange, Unacademy, among others. As quoted on Wikipedia, Bansal’s net worth stands at USD 1bn as on date which is equivalent to approximately INR 7,500 crores.
While the matter is subjudice and we are not judging either sides, this is what Supreme Court of India had said in 2018 with regards to Section 498A.
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Section 498A of the IPC deals with the husband or relatives of the husband subjecting a woman to “cruelty”. The section states,
Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.
In September 2018, Supreme court said that though Section 498A was enacted to protect women from cruelty in matrimonial houses, its misuse to harass the other side too is causing social unrest.
The top court had on April 23, 2018 reserved its verdict on a batch of pleas seeking revisiting of a judgment that had reduced the severity of the anti-dowry law on the offence of subjecting a married woman to cruelty by spouse and in-laws.
- The apex court had earlier said that every complaint under Section 498A should be scrutinised by a Family Welfare Committee after which arrests should be made
- Even in July 2017, a two-judge bench of the apex court said that no arrest can be made till such committee has submitted its report
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The court then restored the powers of the police to act on complaints of dowry harassment under Section 498A and said,
We think it appropriate to direct the investigating officer to be careful in dealing with the complaints of dowry harassment.
The bench headed by then CJI Deepak Misra and comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said,
We have protected pre-arrest or anticipatory bail provision in dowry harassment cases. There should be gender justice for women as dowry has a chilling effect on marriage on the one hand and on the other, there is right to life and personal liberty of the man.
Disclaimer: A Bengaluru family court has passed an ex parte injunction on February 5, 2020 that prevents the complainant Priya Bansal and the press from reporting details of an ongoing property dispute between Sachin Bansal and her. Since this report is based on a separate FIR filed by Priya Bansal, a document which is in the public domain, the same is not subject to the injunction order.