In an audio clip released on Wednesday night where in an alleged 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, can be heard threatening legal action if Chakraborty releases screenshots of conversations which may prove his innocence.
A YouTube channel ‘EXPOSE MAHIMA’ released an audio where the alleged conversation took place between two individuals the user claims to be Utsav and Mansi on 14th November 2018.
The woman in the conversation identifies herself as Mahima Kukreja’s advocate calling on her behalf. “I have been informed that you have been planning to release certain screenshots or something of that nature… If I may be very honest at this point, she is been in touch with the Mumbai Police as well as the National Commission for Women, who have been pressing her to file charges. Due to her mental issues she is not wanting to get further involved in this. She wants to come out of it…”
The man, who had earlier identified himself as Utsav in the clip cuts her off but the woman asks him to hear her out first. “So she has been wanting to get past this thing. Mahima has decided but if you put out something which is damaging to her without her prior permission we may file legal, criminal as well as civil remedies. We will be constrained to…”
The man in the conversation asks what the remedies would be. The woman says the criminal remedy would be loss of reputation. “Anyway the Mumbai Police has been asking and has been in touch with her. Whatever we deem fit… Are you planning anything of that sort? I mean this is just to talk to you. Anyway this has been in the pipeline for a while. Because she has been asking me to get in touch with you and discuss it all. She wanted a public apology and you seek some kind of therapy. Because let’s face it, you may have screenshots… ,” the woman says.
The man interjects, “You have ruined my career. I have nothing else left. And the thing is all the people who spoke up against like after her and I understand her perspective also in that, what she did, she ruined my life, completely. My friends have stopped talking to me. Close friends, who have said, ‘what about other women?’ I have actually sat down and I have collected all the other screenshots of all the other people who wrote to Mahima and then Mahima put out that information without verifying and all of them I have screenshots of them either consenting or not talking to me at all. I don’t know why these people would do such thing. But you have ruined my life. And I have nothing else to do. What do I do now?”
The woman says, “If I may just say something from a fair point of view, let us be honest here and cut the chase… it is not like you didn’t do anything…” The man says, “Didn’t Mahima mention the fact that she was naked before? In the situation?” The woman says she would not be in a situation to comment on that. “But if you are going to leak screenshots of that, then you will get in serious trouble,” the woman says. The man identifying himself as Utsav then says how he would of course not release those screenshots to the media. “I am not an idiot,” he says.
The woman, who had identified herself as Mahima’s lawyer and is also her sister Mansi Kukreja, lists out various sections of the IT Act under which releasing the above images of Mahima may be a criminal offence. The man says he has kept these screenshots for legal issues.
“You know what I think, you say she ruined your life and ruined your career… I think a very wise thing for both of you would be you release a statement saying that whatever happened you didn’t subscribe to everything that was said but yet you did a mistake and are willing to give a public apology…” she says.
“Why would I give a public apology? Would Mahima give a public apology regarding that?” he asks.
“No, please let me complete. Are you saying that all the screenshots and all the messages she sent…” she asks regarding the other allegations put up on Utsav by other women.
“Yes I have eight separate incidences where people have either sent me nudes and they have regretted it later on and that is why they have put it up there. Or they have not talked to me at all. And they have jumped in the fray because clearly this was the trending topic and everyone wanted to join in. I am sorry. I have proof of that. Why would I not use that proof?” he asks.
“Where will you use these proofs? There is no proceedings known where you could use these proofs. Very honestly you are saying you talked to eight different people… there were lof of messages which were posted anonymously by her. But she has far far far more than 8 messages which if she has to and she will have to disclose,” the woman-lawyer says.
The man says she could go ahead and disclose. “I am fairly certain at this point…” he says before he is interrupted by the woman who says, “No, you are not because she has like amazingly huge numbers of messages and emails and correspondence. And she is in no way accountable for that.”
“She put it out there. There were 3,500 RTs (retweets) on each. Are you telling me she did not soliticise (sic) in any way? Did she not put it out there? Did she not aggravate saying that this vile man… The kind of language is reserved for actual rapist was used for me. For confusing… And for all those people who said ‘oh he touched my belly..’ it was consensual, we were having full conversation saying ‘oh I am blushing’,” he said.
The woman reminds the man who he went on to Zoom TV and said he would want to apologise. “Yeah, I would want to apologise to everyone who feels that they have been affected. I think you should talk to my lawyer. This is not… This is the thing. Even the Zoom TV thing was done under duress. I was ready to kill myself. That was the situation you put me through. This was the situation you put me through. Don’t tell me for one second that I am like…”
At this point, the woman asks the man if he would like to talk to Mahima as well and if she could put her on a conference call. The man agrees to talk to Mahima. This is where the first part of the clip ends.
In October 2018, Mahima Kukreja in a series of tweets had accused Utsav Chakraborty, a standup-comedian, of sexually predatory behaviour. Mahima even shared various screenshots she had received from various girls who had come out and accused Utsav of sending unsolicited ‘d*ck pics’, asking for nude images of girls and even justifying them.
Later, in an interview with Zoom TV, Utsav attempted to whitewash his allegedly inappropriate behaviour by highlighting his mental health issues without offering any meaningful apology and then blamed the ‘rightwing’ for his predicament. Utsav had said, “A lot of it has been galvanised by rightwing Twitter accounts. Please check their Twitter accounts, their Twitter headers, whatever, a lot of it.”