Didn't harass women, my competitors are trying to malign me, says Pune restaurateur

Oct 28, 2017, 16:25 IST | Chaitraly Deshmukh

Days after the High Spirits sexual harassment controversy broke, the owner of the bar, Khodu Irani, yesterday approached the Mundhwa police to record his statement in the matter.

Khodu Irani
Khodu Irani

The police took down nearly three pages with his version of events, and he told the cops that he was innocent and the allegations were just a ploy by his rivals to ruin his business.

Also read: Women's body demands answers following sexual harassment allegations against Pune bar owner

Khodu refutes allegations
Senior Inspector Anil Patrudkar of Mundhwa police station said, "On Friday, Khodu approached us and we recorded his statement. He has refuted the allegations, claiming it was a mala fide attempt by his business rivals to malign his image. He was upset, as not just him, but his children too are suffering."

Threat calls
Khodu's mother, Moti Irani, on Tuesday filed a complaint regarding threat calls the family had received since the controversy broke. The allegations began on October 11, after writer Sheena Dabholkar shared experiences of sexual harassment she had witnessed and been through at the bar. Soon, several women recounted similar incidents they had been through at High Spirits, which included being groped, pinched and kissed by Khodu.

Also read: Pune bar owner's mother shocked about sexual harassment allegations against son

Among the women was Divya Desa, a former employee who wrote a blog post alleging Khodu had sexually abused, harassed, and bullied her during the time she worked there. Meanwhile, none of the survivors have come forward to register a complaint, despite the police's attempts to reach out to them. Rashmi Shukla, Commissioner of Police (Pune city), said, "Once the victims approach us, we will immediately register a case."

Decision pending
Senior inspector Patrudkar said they will prepare a report based on all the statements recorded so far, and will submit the file to their superiors for a decision on the further course of action.

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