Veteran Bollywood actor Jeetendra was charged with sexually assaulting his cousin 48 years ago which has been canceled by the Himachal Pradesh High Court. On Monday, justice Ajay Mohan Goel dismissed the FIR which was lodged on February 16 last year.

The offense is punishable with a maximum imprisonment of two years. Justice Goel found it acceptable the actor’s plea that the complainant was “mala fide” as the woman’s daughter was rejected in an audition by Balaji Motion Pictures Limited which is run by the Jeetendra’s family.

According to the judge, the complaint was unable to provide a strong base to proceed against the accused, as they appear to be “vague” and “inherently absurd”. Jeetendra’s cousin alleged in the complaint that the assault happened in 1971 after the actor took her to a room at a hotel in Shimla.

The complainant further claimed there were two beds and while she was sleeping he allegedly joined the two separate beds and tried to molest her. She said before the registration of the complaint she was encouraged by the #MeToo campaign against sexual harassment.

In 1971, Jeetendra was 28 while the complainant was 18 years old. However, Jeetendra filed a petition seeking to cancel the FIR. He said his cousin was angry as her daughter was rejected for a role by a media house run by his family.

After investigation, the court found it is true that the daughter of Jeetendra’s cousin gave an audition for Balaji Motion Pictures Limited. “This lends credibility to the contention that the lodging of the FIR was an act of mala fide and a result of the daughter of his cousin having been rejected,” the court said.

The court led to the conclusion saying, the allegations are “so absurd and inherently improbable, on the basis of which no prudent person can ever reach a just conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused”.

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