In the last two weeks, India has witnessed a #MeToo revolution. Stories of sexual harassment and assault has emerged from Bollywood shocking the entire nation. However, even as the entire country is reeling with the horrific accounts of the victims about sexual predators, the bigwigs in the industry have chosen to remain silent.
Now, a Delhi-based aspiring actor, a rape survivor, has spoken out for the first time about the ordeal she faced, exposing the rot, running deep, in the industry. The survivor recounted the horror for the first time on television and exposed top Bollywood producer and a close friend of Shah Rukh Khan, Karim Morani. Morani, who is known for backing films like Chennai Express and Ra.One is facing rape change and is currently out on bail.
The survivor who shifted to Mumbai in 2014 knew Karim Morani’s family and recalled that in 2015 called her up and said that he would come over for tea. The survivor said that during a function at the Morani household, she got in touch with Karim Morani.
She then recounted that despite being aware that the survivor was a teetotaler, Morani forced her to drink and violated her afterwards.
“Morani came home around 7pm with a bottle of wine. I didn't drink but he forced me to drink. Next thing I know, I wake up at 4am. I was numb and shocked. Physically and mentally, I was in a state of shock. Karim was not there. I saw there were marks on my body when I woke up,” recounted the survivor.
As detailed by the aspiring actor, when she confronted him the next day about the incident, Morani laughed at her over the phone.
“I found the courage and called him next day. I confronted him and asked him - what did you do to me? I told him I'd call his wife and brother. He just laughed over the phone. Can't forget that laughter. I felt helpless. I was 21,” said the survivor.
To her horror, the survivor recounted, Morani allegedly clicked her pictures and started to blackmail her using the photos as his weapon. Morani allegedly threatened the survivor of getting her killed by the underworld.
“Morani told me he clicked my pictures. He said if you try and call anyone, I'll get you killed by the underworld. Morani was linked to the underworld,” recounted the survivor.
The victim also alleged that Morani would brag in front of her about the crimes he had committed and how he got away with them.
“He would brag about 2G and tell me how he got away with even corruption,” alleged the survivor.
To threaten her further, Karim Morani, started sending her “the nude pictures he clicked of me”.
The horror-story didn’t end there as the survivor recalled that Morani allegedly harassed her several times afterwards using her pictures as a ploy.
“The after effects were that I stopped talking to people, stopped working, became a recluse. It wasn't just one time. He came over a couple of times more. It was 12th Sept 2015 and he calls me and says I want you to come here. I was scared he'd circulate my nude pictures to family. He sneaked me into the room. He didn't even let me leave,” said the survivor.
She also recalled that Karim Morani was so unabashed that he would tell her that “SRK, Varun Dhawan were in the next rooms”, but won’t let her leave.
“He would even order the food into the room. He didn't let me leave. He would drink and then abuse me,” said the survivor.
The survivor then said that she got so depressed with the continuous blackmails, she decided to take her own life.
“He called me again in October 2015. He wanted me to go to Ramoji City. He would blackmail me saying he;'d get me eliminated by the underworld. I don't doubt that he's influential. I've seen it that he's influential and I know he could have eliminated me.
"I wasn't in a physical or mental condition after that. I tried taking pills. I tried killing myself and would land myself in hospital after that,” she said.
She then relayed that one day when she had a nervous breakdown, she told Karim Morani’s wife and daughters about what he had done to her and then also mustered the courage to file a complaint.
“When I had a nervous breakdown, I contacted him and his family - I had hit rock bottom - I called his wife in 2016 - and I told her everything. She heard me out and hung up. Morani called me back after 2 minutes and I told him I wouldn't back off. I texted his daughters and everyone in his family and told them this is what Morani had done,” she said.
“I somehow mustered the courage to file a complaint. I was told it's a high profile case. You have to meet the Commissioner. File a 164 statement. I meet DCP, filed the FIR - and then we went to the hospital,” she added.
The survivor then recalled that after she lodged the FIR, it was a beginning of another horror story for her.
“In Hyderabad, the hospital refused to do a checkup saying its a high profile case. I started getting random calls from private numbers - random men would issue threats to me. The cops had to request the hospital to do the check up. The commissioner had to request the magistrate to record the 164 statement. The magistrate recorded the 164 statement and then let me go,” recounted the survivor.
She then recounted that how she was being allegedly mistreated during the hearing of the case owing to the high profile status of her perpetrator.
“I didn't have a lawyer. I was told I'll have access to Public Prosecutor (PP). PP told me I don't have time to speak to you. In the district court, the judge asked me to get out. I didn't leave the court and put my foot down. I broke down in the court. IO told me to write down all my charges and then he'd pass it on to the judge,” said the aspiring actor.
She then alleged that that day, Karim Morani got anticipatory bail and the court order said that ‘he had never been part of any criminal activity’.
“The judge then says bail has been granted to Morani. He managed to get anticipatory bail that day. I saw the order which said 'he'd never been part of any criminal activity'. He had a team of 32 lawyers and I had just one. He surrendered on 22 september and managed to get anticipatory bail,” said the survivor.
She also alleged that Karim Morani submitted wrong piece of evidence to cover up his crime.
“He surrendered only one phone when he was asked to present evidence, he had 2 phones. He submitted iPhone 6S. In 2016 july, the phone wasn't even launched. He didn't submit the actual phone in which he took the pictures
She then claimed that after he got bail she started to get calls of people asking her to ‘take money and settle the case’.
Relaying the name-calling she had to face, the survivor said, “Till today when I go to court, the 10 people with him who accompany, till date, surround me in court during proceedings. His people surround me in court and pass comments,” said the survivor.
The survivor then questioned the bigwigs of Bollywood who still associate with Morani, even after being in the know that he is an accused in more than one crime.
“I don’t know how SRK could work with him. I don’t want to drag SRK into this but how can such an icon work with this 2G accused and support a man like this. Nobody spoke out about me or backed me up. How can top actors like SRK work with him?” said the victim.
The survivor also said that she is forced to live the nightmare even now as her perpetrator is an influential man.
“He's 60+ and im younger than his youngest daughter. He spoilt my life, my dream. He crushed me. I continue to face threats. Till date when he comes to court, he stares me down and intimidates me. Why should i travel in a burqa? He's influential, he's been working in industry for 40 years. I really don't know who knows about him but choose to judge the girl. Why should i feel embarrassed or go through torture,” said the survivor.
The survivor said that she decided to come out with her version of the story as she believes that people must know the truth.
“I thought I should speak because people must know the truth. He has a voice, I don't have a voice. This is the first time that someone wanted to help me, till now nobody's even been willing to speak to me,” said the survivor.