Arunabh Kumar, CEO and founder of The Viral Fever, secured anticipatory bail till 18 April in the sexual harassment case against him, ANI reports. Kumar is accused of sexually harassing at least two women, a former employee of TVF and an employee of a Mumbai-based production firm. A case under Section 354 (sexual harassment) and Section 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) was registered against him on 29 March, based on the complaint of the production house employee.
Complaints against Kumar came to fore following an anonymous Medium post, which has since been taken down, (cached version here), published on 12 March. The writer accused Kumar of sexually harassing her when she worked with him. In the next two days, multiple women, including prominent director Reema Sengupta, came forward with complaints of sexual harassment against him.
While the Internet content company, initially denied all charges, in a change of tune, on 14 March, Nidhi Bisht, writer and actress at TVF, encouraged women to come forward with complaints. Kumar has complaints filed against him in three cities. Medianama tried getting in touch with the company spokespersons but their phones were switched off. We have sent them emails and text messages, and will update the post when we get a response.
In a new Medium post on 15 April, the anonymous blogger has claimed filing charges against Kumar: .”We have few cases filed in three cities and one of it is mine. So, I would expect courts to take a cognizance of that. I hope it reaches logical conclusions.”
Timeline of the case:
–March 12: Medium user “Indian Fowler” publishes a post claiming that she faced sexual harassment from Kumar while working with him at TVF .
–March 13-14: Multiple women, including prominent director Reema Sengupta, had come forward outlining complaints alleging that they too had faced harassment from Kumar.
–March 14: In a Facebook post, Nidhi Bisht, actress and writer at TVF, defended Kumar and encouraged women to come forward and file a formal complaint regarding misconduct by Kumar.
–March 16: An FIR was filed against Kumar by a lawyer named Rizwan Siddiquee under IPC sections 354, 354-A, 354-D and 509.
–March 18: TVF said in a statement to MediaNama that a special team is looking into the complaints raised on social media. “We are committed to getting to the bottom of these allegations…we have an ICC Committee set up in each location… We recognize that we should have handled that response better. However, it is a fact that we have found no records of any such person on our pay roll, in that given time period, as described in the (Medium) blog.,” TVF added.
–March 28: Day later after Siddiquee’s complaint, Mumbai Police said that they might close the case since no woman had come forward with a formal complaint. More at India Today.
–March 31: A 26-year old woman files a new FIR against Kumar with the Mumbai Police. Charges against Kumar will be non-bailable, police told Hindustan Times.
–April 9: Kumar gets interim relief in the cases
–April 15: “Indian Fowler” publishes a post claiming she has finally filed a case against Kumar. faced sexual harassment from Kumar while working with him at TVF .
–April 17: Kumar gets anticipatory bail till 18 Aoril