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Bengaluru police close sexual harassment case against Asianet CEO Abhinav Khare, say allegations were ‘baseless and false’

Sonam Mahajan had levelled sexual harassment charges against Abhinav Khare

The Bengaluru Police has closed the probe into sexual harassment charges against Asianet Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abhinav Khare, citing lack of evidence. The police have filed B report, saying that a charge sheet can’t be filed in the case as the case was baseless and false.

Last year, Abhinav Khare was accused of sexual harassment by Sonam Mahajan, a popular political commentator on social media, at the height of #MeToo movement in India. Sonam was reportedly working with Abhinav as a Digital Marketing Consultant at Namma Bengaluru Foundation (NBF), an NGO founded by Mr Chandrashekhar, however, Sonam had said that she essentially worked with Mr Chandrashekhar’s office.

According to reports, an internal complaints committee, which Abhinav Khare had argued to be constituted illegally, had found Khare guilty of misconduct, but Khare had refuted all allegations, saying they were fabricated. He went to the court against the constitution of the committee as well as its findings. Sonam Mahajan meanwhile filed a police case against him.

Now Police say that they have interviewed 15 employees of NBF and none of them supported the charges made by Mahajan. Some employees even said that the complaint was a vendetta.

The police said, “none of the firm’s employees spoke in favour of the complainant. We interviewed 15 employees who worked with the woman and the accused but not one person’s testimony had anything to back the complainant’s claims. In fact, many of them alleged she behaved inappropriately. Some said her performance was not satisfactory and the complaint was a vendetta.”

Police said that the complainant had said that she had screenshots of WhatsApp messages and recordings of few phone calls, as proofs of the sexual harassment, but she failed to provide those evidence to police. Police also said that she did not cooperate with the police during the investigation.

According to MyNation, during the course of interrogation, many stated that Sonam didn’t show interest in the work assigned to her. When Khare informed her that he wasn’t willing to continue the contract, Sonam allegedly pressured him into paying her Rs 15 lakh. Abhinav Khare reportedly refused the payment, which is believed to have driven Sonam to accuse him.

The police then decided to close the case stating that Sonam Mahajan had no “substance in her claims”.

The police have filed B report, saying that a charge sheet can’t be filed against Abhinav Khare as there is no evidence against him.

But Mahajan has denied the version of police, saying that the entire investigation was one-sided. She has also filed a complaint with the DCP alleging that the police investigation was not done properly.

On the other hand, Abhinav Khare has accused Mahajan to be an extortionist, saying she has changed her version four times. He said that “despite 18 months long smear campaign and media trial by her, not a single witness or evidence had corroborated her lies”. He also challenged her to produce any complainant or past victim against him, if he is a serial offender as she has claimed. He added that multiple victims of extortion by the woman have come forward.

 

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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