Earlier this month, Bollywood actress Koena Mitra of Musafir fame was sentenced to simple imprisonment of six months by a metropolitan magistrate's court after she was convicted in a case of cheque bouncing. She was asked to pay Rs 4.64 lakh, of which Rs 1.64 lakh was the interest component, to model Poonam Sethi, the complainant. For the unversed, Poonam had filed a complaint against Koena in 2013 after her cheque bounced for 'want of funds.' Accroding to a report in a leading daily, Koena has refuted these allegations and would be challenging the verdict, in all likelihood.
Although Andheri Metropolitan Court Magistrate Ketaki Chavan has reportedly rejected most of the arguments raised by Koena, one contention raised by her states that Poonam did not have enough financial capacity to lend her Rs 22 lakh. According to the case, Koena is said to have taken a sum of Rs 22 lakh over a period of time. When it came to the repayment of the loan, Koena offered Poonam a cheque worth 3 lakh, which was later dishonoured by the bank. This led to Poonam sending a legal notice to Koena, dated July 19, 2013. In October, the same year, she filed a court complaint after Koena failed to repay the amount.
Interestingly, Koena had raised another point of contention. During the hearing in the court, Koena reportedly alleged that the complainant stole her cheques. Furthemore, she argued that Poonam was lending money illegally. To this, the court held that the arguments as mutually contradicting. As per the report, the court observed, "In the present matter, said cheque is not dishonoured on the count of ‘payment stopped by drawer’. It is dishonoured on the count of ‘funds insufficient’. If at all, it is presumed that complainant took the cheques from the accused’s house, which was blank and misused them, then the option of stopping the payment was very well available with the accused. But she did not do anything like this. Thus, the conduct of accused prior and subsequent to the dishonoured of said cheque constrained me to hold that this defence is afterthought and taken only to evade the liability."
Koena, on the other hand, claimed the case to be 'totally false' during an interaction with the daily. "I have been framed in the matter. During the final argument, my lawyer could not be present in the court and hence my side was not heard and the order was passed without my hearing. We will be challenging the judgement in the higher court and my lawyers are in the process of appealing,” she was quoted as saying.
(Source: Mumbai Mirror)