Mumbai: Seven years after an aspiring actor Preeti Jain filed a complaint of alleged rape against noted filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar, a local court on Monday took cognizance of the case and issued process against him while observing that a prima facie case was made out against him.

Bhandarkar has been asked by a Magistrate in suburban Andheri to appear in person on October 18 and reply to the process issued against him.

"The court has issued process (taken cognizance of the case) and observed that prima facie a case of rape and criminal intimidation has been made out against Bhandarkar," Jain's lawyer Sushan Kunjuraman said.

Jain had approached Versova police station accusing Bhandarkar of raping her. Jain, in her complaint, had alleged that Bhandarkar had first raped her in May 1999 and later 16
times over the period of five years.

 According to Jain, Bhandarkar had promised to marry her and offer the lead role in his films but later he backed off from his promise.

However, in May 2007, Versova police filed a 'B' summary report (legally considered as false or malicious information) saying that there was no evidence to substantiate Jain's case.

Later, Jain filed a plea in the court urging further investigations and the court ordered further probe.

 The police again in 2009 filed a 'B' summary report stating that the case against Bhandarkar was false.
 
Reacting to the order, Jain said "It is a landmark decision of the court. I am extremely happy that I have emerged victorious. I have faith in God and judiciary".

Bhandarkar issued a statement saying, "I would like to state that after reading the judgment we will challenge this order in a higher court and seek justice.”

Bhandarkar said that initially on July 12, 2004 Jain had sent a legal notice to him stating if he did not cast her in his film as the leading lady within 48 hours, then she would adopt criminal and civil legal proceedings against him by lodging a complaint with police and court against him for cheating, cohabitation caused by a man deceitfully inducing a belief of lawful marriage and criminal intimidation.

 "There was no whisper of rape charges in that notice," said Bhandarkar.

The statement also alleged that he came to know on July 9, 2004 that Jain has already sent a legal notice to up and coming music director stating that she is pregnant with his child and affirming with a DNA test. She even threatened him saying that if he does not accept the paternity of the child then she would take legal action against him in seven days.

"On 22nd July 2004, she filed a complaint with the police alleging me of raping her, for which I was granted bail in sessions court which was upheld by the Bombay High Court.The High Court had passed strong strictures against her saying implicate me, which cannot be ruled out," said Bhandarkar in his statement.

Bhandarkar also said that Jain was arrested for hatching a plot to eliminate him in 2005 with the help of underworld.

"She was arrested by Agripada police station and was behind bars for almost a month," said Bhandarkar.

Three-time National Award-winning filmmaker Bhandarkar is known for issue-based movies like 'Chandni Bar', 'Page 3', 'Traffic Signal' and 'Fashion'.

(Agencies)