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Founder-CEO of TVF Arunabh Kumar booked for ‘molestation’

According to sources, the victim who is currently based in Mumbai had approached the police and recorded her statement on Wednesday.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: March 30, 2017 11:14:41 am

THE MUMBAI POLICE on Wednesday booked the founder-CEO of digital content company, The Viral Fever (TVF), on charges of molestation, after a victim came forward and recorded her statement before the Mumbai Police.

“Based on the complaint of a victim, a case under Section 354 (A) and 509 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been registered at MIDC police station against Arunabh Kumar,” the Mumbai Police Spokesperson said.

According to sources, the victim who is currently based in Mumbai had approached the police and recorded her statement on Wednesday. “The victim approached us and based on her statement we have booked Kumar for molestation. In her statement she has alleged that Kumar molested her when she had went to interview him,” said an official who requested anonymity.

Sources added that Kumar would be soon summoned by the police for questioning.

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Section 354 (A) of the IPC pertains to sexual harassment through physical contact, unwanted and explicit sexual advances, demand for sexual favours, showing pornography or making sexually coloured remarks. Section 509 deals with word, gesture or act intending to insult the modesty of a woman.

An email sent to TVF did not elicit a response.

Earlier this month, an anonymous blog post that surfaced on the portal under the handle Indian Fowler that claimed to be the personal account of a former TVF employee, accused Kumar of sexually exploiting her during her two-year stint at the firm.

According to the post, the girl from Bihar’s Muzaffarpur, the same city where Kumar hails from, joined TVF’s production team in 2014. In her blog the girl had claimed that the abuse began the very first month she joined the firm and continued till she quit in 2016. She added that some of her colleagues were in the know but when she spoke to them about the incidents, they brushed those aside as normal.

“Since then it became routine. Right from Pitchers to Tripling, I was molested. Be it in parties where Arunabh would try to lift me or would try and fall on me pretending he is drunk. One instance was the Ola deal. The Ola team was meeting him and we were taking notes. He walks out of the meeting with some excuse and calls me for some notes. I walk up. He says its time we do a quicky. I am stunned. And I told him I will go to the police. He says ‘Police to meri pocket me hai’. I walked out deciding never to come back. Then get a call from Legal saying that I am in a breach of contract (sic),” read an extract from the blog, accusing the founder of TVF, which has a vertical called Girliyapa dedicated entirely to women-centric content.

Reacting to the blog then, TVF, in its response had denied all allegations, calling them ‘false, baseless and unverified’. However, after the post went viral, many women online came up with similar allegations against Kumar. Following which many women have accused the digital entrepreneur of sexual harassment at workplace.

On March 16, advocate Rizwan Siddiquee filed an application with the MIDC police station, requesting for an FIR to be filed against Kumar on “vulgar and continuous acts of sexual harassment at workplace and for outraging the modesty of women”.

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