Amidst sexual harassment allegations against the organisers of Bigg Boss Telugu, STAR MAA, the official broadcaster of the show, has decided to air the programme beginning from July 21. The channel, on its official page on Twitter, has begun the countdown for the show, which will see actor Nagarjuna playing the host in the third season.
Meanwhile, the Telangana High Court has granted a four-week relief to Abhishek Mukherji, one of the four accused in the sexual harassment case filed by journalist Swetha Reddy. Justice Sri Devi, who was hearing the quash plea filed by Mukherji, sought counters from the police and directed that no action be taken against the accused for the next four weeks
Speaking to TNM, Shanti Bhushan Rao, legal advisor to Swetha Reddy, said that interim relief has been provided to Mukherji on the grounds that the FIR doesnâ€™t clearly mention his role in the case.
â€śThe quash plea has been accepted because the police has evoked only Section 354 (A) against the accused (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty). The FIR should have also charged Section 420 of IPC against the accused (which deals with cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property). Mukherji is clearly at fault of giving false promises to the complainant and cheating her. We have requested the HC to present the counters and the case will be again taken up on Tuesday,â€ť Rao said.
A case has also been filed against Ravikanth, Raghu and Shyam, the three other STAR MAA coordinators accused in the case.
The HC judgement comes in the wake of Swetha Reddy and actor Gaythri Gupta, another woman who has accused the Bigg Boss organisers of sexual harassment, filing complaints with the National Commission for Women. Alleging injustice at the hands of the Bigg Boss coordinators, the women have sought help from the commission in Delhi.
Amidst the controversies, the High Court will also hear a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by K Jagdishwar Reddy, urging the organisers to censor the Bigg Boss show. Claiming that the contestants have been brought in with the promise of money and fame, Reddy has alleged in his petition that the show is against the norms of a "civilised" society, making winners out of contestants who inflict the most physical and emotional injuries on others.
According to Shanti Bhushan Rao, who is also representing Reddyâ€™s PIL in the court, the matter will be taken up in the HC on July 22.
Despite the sexual harassment complaints filed by the two women, host and actor Nagarjuna is yet to speak on the issue. While there were rumours that Nagarjuna has asked the show organisers to postpone the launch of the third season amidst the controversies, STAR MAA has rubbished these claims and is all set to air the show on July 21. The Bigg Boss house is being constructed in Annapurna 7acres, a property belonging to Nagarjuna's Annapurna Studios.