Hyderabad: Telugu singer Kesiraju Srinivas, popularly known as Ghazal Srinivas, was arrested by Panjagutta police on Tuesday on the charge of sexually harassing a 29-year-old web radio station head.
The woman approached the police last week alleging that the singer has been harassing her for more than a year, said the police.
Srinivas shot to fame after making it to the Guinness Book of World Records in 2008 for singing in 76 languages at a concert.
According to reports, Srinivas runs a web radio station, Aalaya Vani, where the woman worked. A video was given to the police by the victim, which shows the singer making her massage him and also touch his private parts.
Speaking to the media she said, “He has been making me massage him and also touch him inappropriately several times in the past few months. If I tell him I want to quit the job, he would threaten me by saying that he will not give me an experience certificate and also that he will book me under theft case and defame me.
“I was helpless and even felt suicidal,” the woman told this newspaper.
She added that she had mustered up courage to set up a spy camera in the room and record the torture in order to unmask the singer as nobody would believe her.
“I told my friends that I was setting up a camera to record the nuisance and if I do not show up again, think that they have killed me. That’s how scared I was. But I could not stand a day more of the harassment and decided to go through with the plan as nobody, including my family, would believe me if I shared my horror,” she told Deccan Chronicle.
Colleague backs woman’s claim
Police Inspector S. Ravinder, who is investigating, said the police had a statement from video editor Prashanth that backed what the woman had told the police.
“We recorded the statement of Prashanth, the video editor there, who said that he would see the victim go into the bedroom with Srinivas and the door would be locked for hours and later she would come out crying. When asked, she would say that he is demanding sexual favours from her and a colleague, Parvathi, would encourage her to do so and he will ensure her that her financial life will be settled,” inspector Ravinder said.
Srinivas denies all the allegations and says he has huge respect for girls and he has treated her as his own daughter. “I met with an accident recently and have a ligament tear. One day my physiotherapist did not show up to put on the ointment and the woman (victim) herself volunteered to massage me and asked me with a ‘please’ and only then I let her do it,” said the singer.
The singer’s relatives back him and allege that it’s a conspiracy against him. “Someone is using the woman as a trump card to get to him. He comes from a middle class level to where he is now. We are sure that a planned conspiracy is at play here. He is not a person who would do such a thing,” said a relative.
“The woman sticks to her story but says that she is scared of the consequences of exposing such a well-known figure. I am a mother and I have to live with the embarrassment. The police has appreciated me and assured me that they will keep me safe, she said addressing the media.
The Panjagutta police have booked cases against Srinivas under Section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354A (sexual harassment) and 509 read with 109 (abetment for the offence) of the Indian Penal Code.
Srinivas has been remanded to Chanchalguda jail until January 12.