A day after Bengaluru police arrested a Zomato delivery boy for allegedly attacking a Bengaluru-based content creator named Hitesha Chandranee, the delivery agent shared his side of the story to The News Minute.
Kamaraj, who was suspended by the Zomato and subsequently detained by the Bengaluru police over allegations of attack by the Bengaluru-based social media influencer, spoke to the News Minute regarding the incident on Tuesday, which has grabbed public attention thorugh the country.
For the uninitiated, on Tuesday, the social media influencer named Hitesha Chandranee had shared a video on Instagram to allege that the delivery man attacked her after an argument over a delay in delivery of her food order.
Seen with a bloody injury on her nose, Hitesha claimed that a delivery man barged into her house and assaulted her after she questioned him over late delivery. The woman narrated that she had placed an order around 3:30 pm on March 9, which was supposed to be delivered by 4:30 pm, but she did not receive it on time. Hence, she called Zomato’s customer support and requested them to cancel the order or give her free delivery.
As per Hitesha, she asked the delivery executive, whom she identified as Kamaraj, to wait as she talked to a customer care representative. Hitesha claimed that the delivery guy started abusing her after she refused to collect the order.
Further, Hitesha had said that she had given him a choice to cancel the order, however, the delivery agent refused to take the order back, and he started screaming at her.
“I tried to shut my door, but he pushed the door, took my order from the table, he entered my home and punched me on my face so that I don’t get back to him, and he ran away,” the social media influencer had claimed.
Following the complaint, the Bengaluru police had arrested Zomato delivery agent Kamaraj on Wednesday.
Delivery agent says customer refused to pay, threw ‘chappal’ at me
However, the delivery executive has refuted the allegations of Hitesha and said that she was the first to hit him with a slipper, and he had only tried to defend himself. Kamraj added that the accuser had hit herself with the door in the scuffle where she was trying to hit him with a slipped and he was defending himself.
Two days after the incident, Kamaraj, who spoke to TNM, has revealed his side of the incident and alleged it was Hitesha who first verbally abused him and then hit him with a chappal.
Narrating his ordeal, Kamaraj said that as he reached Hitesha’s apartment door, he handed her the food and was expecting her to pay him, as she had opted for cash on delivery mode of payment. Kamaraj said that he immediately apologised since the delivery was delayed due to traffic and bad roads.
“However, she was very rude from the outset. She asked me, ‘Why are you late?’ I replied apologetically, as there were road blocks due to ongoing civic works, and there were traffic jams as well. But she kept on insisting that the order has to be delivered within 45-50 minutes. I am working on this job for more than two years, and this is the first time that I have had to go through this kind of ordeal,” said Kamaraj.
Customer refused to pay, called me ‘slave’, says delivery agent
As per Kamaraj, Hitesha took the food but refused to pay for the order. She said she was talking with Zomato chat support. Fearing that he will lose money, he requested Hitesha to pay for the order.
“At this point, she called me a ‘slave’ and then she started shouting ‘What can you do?’ In the meantime, Zomato support told me that they had cancelled the order from their end based on her request, and I asked her to return the food, but she did not cooperate,” Kamaraj disclosed.
The delivery agent said, judging by her actions, he decided that he would leave the apartment building without taking the food.
As he was leaving the apartment, she started using expletives in Hindi, Kamaraj alleged. “She suddenly threw slippers at me and started hitting me. For my safety, when she was hitting me, I tried to use my hand to shield her blows,” he added.
“At this point, when she was trying to push my hand away, she accidentally hit herself with her finger ring on the nose, which led to the bleeding. Anybody who sees her face will understand that a punch wouldn’t create such an injury. And I don’t wear any rings,” the delivery agent revealed.
Kamaraj said he contacted the Zomato support system person in Delhi, who supported him and offered him empathy after narrating the ordeal. The problem is there is no CCTV footage to prove my innocence, said Kamaraj as he spoke to TNM.
Kamaraj was summoned by the Electronic City Phase 1 Police Station around 6.30 pm on Wednesday, where he was questioned for two hours. The police did not disrespect me in any way. I have to spend Rs 25,000 for legal expenses to prevent my arrest, said Kamaraj to The News Minute.
Zomato says the delivery agent is temporarily suspended, his earning will be covered
Meanwhile, Zomato has responded to the counter allegations of their delivery agent against Hitesha Chandranee. The food-delivery app said that they are in constant touch with the delivery partner.
According to Zomato, his temporary suspension is as per protocol due to the ongoing police investigation. “We are covering his earnings in the interim and have extended support to ensure the due process is followed,” Zomato clarified.
Hi there, please be assured, we are in constant touch with the delivery partner. His temporary suspension is as per protocol due to the ongoing police investigation. We are covering his earnings in the interim and have extended support to ensure the due process is followed.— zomato care (@zomatocare) March 12, 2021
Earlier, Zomato had also said that it would cooperate in the police investigation and provide the medical assistance required. The food-delivery app had apologised to the customer, saying they deeply regretted the incident and apologised for the traumatic experience.