Hundreds of supporters of actor Arjun Sarja gathered at the Cubbon Park Police station on 05.11.2018 as he appeared for questioning by the police over allegations of sexual harassment by co-actor Sruthi Hariharan.
Ms.Hariharan has posted about the incident online as part of the #MeToo movement, and on October 27 filed a police complaint.
According to the police, the actor cooperated with the investigation and denied allegations that he had harassed Ms. Hariharan on 4 occasions during the filming of Vismaya between November 2015 and July 2016.
According to the Cubbon Park Police, Arjun was asked over 50 questions by investigating officer Annayya Reddy regarding the incidents described by Sruthi in her complaint. Based on the statements given by Sruthi Hariharan and her makeup artiste Kiran and also the assistant director, Arjun was questioned about the series of events.
Arjun Sarja denied all accusations allegedly and stated that the allegations were made to malign his reputation.
Several of Arjun Sarja’s fans had gathered outside Cubon Park Police Station. The police had a tough time containing the crowds gathered and managing traffic congestion on Kasturba Road.
Police officials say that the director of the film Vismaya, Arun Vaidhyanath supported Arjun and stated that he had not witnessed any such incident during the shoot of the film.
The Karnataka High Court on November 2nd gave a big relief to actor Arjun Sarja who was under threat of arrest.
Following a complaint by actress Shruti Hariharan, Cubbon Park police filed an FIR against Arjun Sarja and facing the threat of arrest. But the High Court Single Bench headed by Justice PS Dinesh Kumar heard the petition filed by Arjun Sarja seeking dismissal of the FIR against him and said that the investigation could be conducted against the actor. But he should not be arrested, the Court said.
During the hearing, senior counsel BV Acharya said that in order to get publicity by participating in the ‘Me Too’ campaign, actress Shruthi Hariharan has misused the name of Arjun Sarja. Moreover, there was a big difference between the post shared in the facebook and the complaint given to the police.
This has given a big relief to the actor. Against the FIR, Arjun Sarja has filed the petition before the High Court. After hearing the case on 2nd November, the Single Judge Bench of the High Court posted the further hearing to November 14.
Arjun Sarja alleged that the case and complaint was a classic case of austere abuse of law and launching of malicious and vile attacks on an innocent man who has thrived hard for 36 years to stand out with the portrait of gentleman.
Arjun Sarja accused Sruthi Harihran of misusing the #MeToo movement and said the allegations leveled against him have caused a lot of embarrassment to him and his family.
Arjun Sarja, who has been accused of sexual harassment by actress Sruthi Hariharan, moved the high court on 30th November seeking the quashing of an FIR registered against him on October 27. The Cubbon park police had registered an FIR based on Sruti Hariharan’s complaint under sections 354 (Assault or 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).
Sruthi’s allegations created a furore in the Kannada film industry with people working in the industry divided over the issue. Sruthi was accused of seeking publicity and raking up a non-issue to smear Arjun’s reputation. She was also accused by Prashant Sambargi, Arjun’s media manager of carrying out an organized campaign against him. On the basis of these abuse and criticism, Sruthi stood her ground and proceeded to file an FIR against Prashant Sambargi for threatening her and against Arjun himself.
An FIR has been lodged against Shruthi Hariharan with the Cyber Crime Police by Kannada actor Arjun Sarja.
Prior to the Case lodge, both the parties met at the Kannada Film Chamber of Commerce. The big names from Kannada film industry known as Sandalwood tried to resolve the matter but failed to come to any conclusions after 2 hours. Arjun said in the meeting that there will not be any compromise from his side. He is proceeding with filing a case against Shruti because everybody, even the king, is under the law.
Shruthi Hariharan had leveled charges of sexual harassment against Arjun Sarja in a long Facebook post.
Sruthi Hariharan had alleged that Arjun Sarja had behaved inappropriately with her during the filming of a song some years ago. Arjun Sarja has denied the allgation.e
The matter is far from over as the Kannada film industry still stands divided on it. Both actors have received support and criticism from the industry and online. According to Shruti, a defamation case is a civil case and the only counter that she would need to file is a criminal case under the Sexual Harassment Act. Watch this space for more updates
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Read related to this story: https://www.bangalorean.com/blog/arjun-sarja-questioned-in-metoo-row/