An audio clip was released on Wednesday which was allegedly a conversation between standup comic Utsav Chakraborty, who was accused of sexual harassment, and Mansi Kukreja, lawyer-sister of Mahima Kukreja (Twitter user @agirlofherwords) who had put up these allegations. In the conversation, the woman can be heard threatening legal action if Chakraborty releases screenshots of conversations which may, allegedly, prove his innocence.
Since then, another audio clip has been released, this one much longer than the previous one, where the conversation follows a similar trajectory as the earlier one. The man in the audio, identified as Utsav, appears to be on the verge of tears and asks the woman who is addressed as Mahima why did she not verify the screenshots that were sent to her.
The caption of the video says, “In this audio clip, Mahima Kukreja and her lawyer/sister Mansi Kukreja can be heard telling Utsav Chakraborty that his life will be destroyed by them if he releases screenshots that would exonerate him from all allegations made by Mahima. He tells them to file a police complaint and go to court so he can come out with his side of the story but they refuse, saying that he cannot release anything without her permission. But didn’t SHE release false information about him without HIS permission?”
‘You have put me through something I don’t think anyone should put even their worst enemy through this, I don’t even know why you did that,’ the man says, ‘but you have to understand the gravity of what happened.’ He also elaborates that he had troubles with numerous people and wasn’t getting too many shows. He had only started getting shows at that point of time when she treated him as ‘some sort of head-honcho, some Weinstein, someone who had so much control’.
The woman says she knew some of the women personally in real life who had made these allegations. She also says she received some accusations from people she did not know which she did not put up. ‘The point of the conversation is I didn’t want to put myself through more mental harassment which is the reason I did not file an FIR,’ the woman said. Utsav then questions why didn’t she and tells that he did tell her to file an FIR and reminds her that she still can.
Utsav then tells Mahima that she named and shamed him. ‘Mahima, listen, were you not naked right before?’ Utsav asked. Mahima then insists that it was her public Snapchat photo but Utsav denies it and says ‘stop saying that, be honest for one second’. ‘I asked you whether you were naked and you said yes, you were, I said prove it, you send me a picture,’ Utsav said. But Mahima continued to insist that it was a public photo but Utsav says she is confused and he has stuff on record to prove it. ‘Why would you ask for a selfie after sending me a nude?’ he asks. ‘I did not send you a nude, what the hell is wrong with you?’ Mahima insisted.
After a while, Utsav says, ‘You have destroyed my life and I am in pain. I will never have a job.’ Utsav eventually breaks down and says that he got ‘fu**ed’ more than anyone in this and more than he should have. He says, ‘I can’t go to the shrink because I don’t have money to go to the shrink. Even the lawyer I am talking to is a pro-bono lawyer. My parents are not rich. You kicked someone, Mahima, who had nothing.’ He also says that he was close to killing himself.
During the conversation, the women also say that in case he does anything, they would be forced to take legal action which will be worse for him. Utsav then asks what is he supposed to do in the meantime, how is he supposed to get a job. One of the women say, ‘Do you want to know what the conversation I have been having with my sister? I said this guy needs reformation. You should own up, you should go to therapy, you should get into social work.’ Utsav then asks, ‘What about the ones who were lying? Including you.’
Towards the end, Mahima says, ‘If you get into it legally, then I will also get into it legally. You’ll also derail the movement.’ Utsav responds, ‘I don’t want to derail the movement.’ She also tells him that it’s his chance to ‘move on’, to ‘get better’, to ‘get help’, ‘this is the chance to change your life’. ‘I don’t think everyone’s lying,’ a woman says, Utsav responds, ‘are you saying no one is lying?’ The video continues on this trajectory and is over 40 minutes long.
Utsav Chakraborty, meanwhile, is also tweeting his version of events and allegations by Mahima Kukreja on the matter on the social media platform. In one case, it is claimed that the girl shared portions of the texts between them with her current boyfriend who then proceeded it to share with others without her consent. Thus, the edited version eventually ended up on the social media platform which apparently showed Utsav in a bad light. Utsav tweeted screenshots of the woman’s tweets on the matter which showed her issuing an apology to him.
This is the screenshot of the apology that @chanya_jaitly put up. She had to protect her tweets. Guys, PLEASE let her be. She did not intend any harm. It’s possible that she was caught in the vitriol of the movement but so were most of you. So lay off. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/6XUvDhqQRg
— Utsav Chakraborty (@Wootsaw) November 21, 2019
Utsav also claims that certain people with ‘online-cred’, an ‘exclusive in-group of ex-Buzzfeed writers, ex-pats and artists’ have been ‘regurgitating baseless lies’ in public and private circles. ‘This privileged cabal of cool’, he says, has been ‘furthering my decimation’.
An exclusive in-group of ex-Buzzfeed writers, expats and artists. People with ‘online-cred’ basically. For the past year or so, this privileged cabal of cool has been regurgitating Mahima and Kanika’s baseless words in private and public circles. Even furthering my decimation. pic.twitter.com/WVDsQxl3FX
— Utsav Chakraborty (@Wootsaw) November 22, 2019
Utsav is now ‘calling out’ women systematically on his profile. However, the truth of this ‘call-out’ on social media in response to the previous series of ‘call-out’ cannot be verified by OpIndia. OpIndia cannot verify any facts related to the matter and is only reporting what is already available on the public domain.
Furthermore, there are a great many allegations against Utsav himself and AIB which haven’t been refuted by anyone. Some women are still saying that Utsav did send extremely inappropriate texts to them and even now insist that he is ‘filth’ and a person with a ‘predatory mindset’. Under such circumstances, it is impossible to reach any hard and fast conclusion on the whole matter.