#MeToo: Model accuses nine high profile men in Bollywood of rape and sexual assault

·2-min read
<p>Indian Bollywood film actor Jackky Bhagnani</p> (AFP via Getty Images)

Indian Bollywood film actor Jackky Bhagnani

(AFP via Getty Images)

Nine high-profile Bollywood professionals, including an actor and a photographer, have been accused of rape and molestation by a model in the Indian city of Mumbai that houses one of the world’s largest film industries.

The police complaint registered in the Bandra area of the city on 26 May states that actor Jackky Bhagnani, photographer Colston Julian, and talent manager Anirban Das Blah are among the nine people accused of the crime. Bhagnani is the son of noted producer Vashu Bhagnani and has starred in films such as F.A.L.T.Uand Youngistaan.

Blah is the co-founder of the talent management company Kwan Entertainment.

The model told Mid-Day: “Police have registered an FIR after so many days of submitting my complaint letter against the high-profile people, but none of them have been arrested yet.”

However, the paper quoted inspector Sagar Nikam as clarifying that the police is currently verifying the allegations.

“We have registered the FIR based on her complaint. We are in the process of collecting the pieces of evidence that the survivor claims to possess against them. Our investigations are underway,” he said.

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“In a bid to conduct panchnama (recordings of the scene of crime), one woman police officer took me to the locations where these accused sexually abused me in Mumbai,” the model told the paper. Indian laws prohibit the disclosure of identity of sexual abuse survivors.

She added: “It seems that Colston Julian has gone underground as his Bandra house was locked and his car was also not there when we visited. Bhagnani is somewhere in foreign land and he is expected to reach Mumbai in September.”

Her complaint states that Julian raped her multiple times between 2014 to 2018, Bhagnani molested her in Bandra, and Kamat sexually harassed her at a hotel in Santa Cruz.

“We are investigating the case. We will definitely question the accused soon," a senior police officer told the paper.

In 2018, a number of Indian women spoke up against sexual harassment and named powerful men in their callouts on social media and other platforms, in what was seen as the country’s MeToo moment. Bollywood actor Tanushree Dutta was one of the first to file a complaint against colleague Nana Patekar, alleging that he behaved inappropriately with her on set.

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