Maha: TV actor Pearl Puri arrested for allegedly raping girl

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(Eds: adding reactions) Mumbai, Jun 5 (PTI) TV actor Pearl Puri (31) has been arrested here for allegedly raping a minor girl in 2019, the police said on Saturday.

Producer Ekta Kapoor and actors Anita Hassanandani and Krystle D'Souza extended support to Puri, claiming that he had been framed up.

The police from neighbouring Mira Bhayandar-Vasai Virar (MBVV) commissionerate took him in custody here on Friday night with the help of suburban Amboli police, an official said.

Puri is known for his roles in 'Naagin 3', 'Bepanah Pyaar' and 'Brahmarakshas 2' serials.

'The alleged sexual assault and molestation with a five-year-old girl had taken place in 2019,' said Deputy Commissioner Sanjay Patil of MBVV police.

On the complaint of the girl's father, FIR was registered under IPC section 376 AB (rape of woman below 12 years of age) and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act at Waliv police station in Vasai, he said.

The actor was arrested and produced before a court which sent him in judicial custody for 14 days, he added.

Ekta Kapoor, Anita Hassanandani and Krystle D'Souza extended support to Puri.

In an Instagram post, Kapoor expressed shock and claimed the actor was being falsely framed up by the girl's father.

The producer, who has worked with the actor in the hit show 'Naagin 3', asserted that the girl's mother told her that Puri was innocent.

'It's her husband trying to create stories to keep her child and prove that a working mother on a set cannot take care of her kid,' Kapoor said.

Kapoor also said it was incorrect to frivolously use the #MeToo movement for personal gains.

Puri's co-stars Hassanandani and D'Souza too stepped forward to show their support.

Hassanandani said the news is nonsensical.

'Woke up to some nonsensical news bout @pearlvpuri I know him! It is NOT true ... canNOT be true.... all lies. I'm sure there is more to it. And the truth will be out soon. Love you @pearlvpuri #ISTANDWITHPEARL,' she wrote.

'I know @pearlvpuri and he is one of the nicest boys I've met in our tv industry. A thorough gentleman. Please don't jump to conclusions on baseless allegations. Let's wait for the truth to come out. #istandwithpearl #PearlVPuri,' wrote D'Souza. PTI DC KKP SHD NP KRK KRK