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#MeToo: Huge relief for actor Arjun Sarja in sexual harassment case


By Express News Service

BENGALURU: A city court has accepted the closure report (B-report) filed by the Cubbon Park police in the sexual harassment case filed by actress Sruthi Hariharan against multi-lingual actor Arjun Sarja. While the police had given a clean chit to the actor, Sruthi did not file a protest memo questioning the B-report, as a result of which the court accepted it.

In October 2018, when the global #MeToo movement against sexual abuse and harassment by those in positions of power reached India, Sruthi had levelled serious allegations of sexual harassment against the popular actor. She had accused Sarja of ‘feeling her up in a sexual manner’ during the shoot of a romantic scene of a movie titled ‘Vismaya’ in 2015. Besides, she had alleged that Sarja had put her in an uncomfortable situation on a few occasions, including inviting her to his room at a resort in Devanahalli while shooting for the movie.

She had lodged a complaint with the Cubbon Park police, who had booked Sarja under Sections 354 (criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354A (sexual harassment), and 509 (word, gesture, or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the IPC.

During the probe, however, the police could not find any material evidence against Sarja. Even certain eyewitnesses had given statements like they were not sure what exactly happened on the sets and they were not aware of any such incident. Due to lack of evidence, the Cubbon Park police had submitted a B-report to the court on November 29 last year, giving a clean chit to Sarja.

As per legal provisions, Sruthi Hariharan had an opportunity to file a protest petition seeking the court to direct the police to re-investigate the case. However, she chose not to pursue it. Hence, the 8th Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) court accepted the B-report on Thursday, in huge relief to actor Sarja.

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