Mumbai: Starlet accuses 'producer' of drug abuse and rape
A 32-year-old starlet, who has worked in a couple of Hindi movies has filed an FIR against one Altaf Merchant, who posed as a producer and abused her on the pretext of giving her opportunities in Bollywood.
The victim has acted in a few Kannada films (right) Altaf Merchant
Merchant, 55, also allegedly introduced her to drugs, which turned into an addiction. She had to be admitted to a rehab centre later. The Chandigarh-based actress was introduced to Merchant through a common friend, Ashraf Merchant in December 2013.
The survivor recollected that in February 2014, she had visited Merchant’s home in Bandra.
"I saw many youngsters consuming drugs there. I was feeling uncomfortable but Merchant asked me to try it too. When I refused, he said that this is required to get recognised in the film industry. I was naïve and believed him," said the victim.
When she still refused, Merchant took her to his room and caught hold of her hair and forcibly made her sniff a white powder (suspected to be cocaine). She started bleeding from her nose and fainted.
Locked and raped
"After I passed out, Merchant locked me in the room and raped me. After waking up in the morning, my head felt heavy and my private parts used to pain. I don’t even know if Merchant was the only one who raped me," she added.
"For six months I was physically and mentally abused by Merchant," said the woman.
By April last year, she had become addicted to drugs. Then one day, when she was frantically searching for her dose in Merchant’s house, she landed upon some CDs and photos of other women in intimate positions.
"That was when I realised I am in big trouble. I fled from Mumbai and went to Chandigarh, my hometown. Merchant then called me and threatened me that he has my videos, which he would leak online. He also boasted of his political connections. That scared me," said the actress, who has also worked in a couple of Kannada films.
She then narrated her ordeal to her mother who got her admitted to a rehabilitation centre there. She is now under medication since February this year and wants proper investigation of the case.
Altaf has applied for anticipatory bail in the court and the hearing is scheduled some day next week. Altaf could not be reached for a comment.
Senior police inspector Pandit Thakre attached with Bandra police station confirmed that the FIR has been filed on the basis of the woman’s statement.