Women

TV Anchor Accused of Rape, Police Say 'Evading Investigation'

Varun Hiremath's phone has been switched off since police launched its investigation based on the complaint of a 22-year-old woman.

New Delhi: ET Now anchor and analyst Varun Hiremath has gone into hiding after a 22-year-old woman lodged a complaint at Chanakyapuri police station earlier this week, accusing him of rape.

Hiremath is the son of a Mumbai based businessman. It has been three days since the FIR was registered.

“We have been searching for him, but he is evading us. He has also switched off his mobile phone,” Avinash Pratap, sub-inspector at Chanakyapuri police station, told The Wire.

According to her lawyer, Jai Dehadrai, Hiremath has been charged with sections 376 (punishment of offence of rape), 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code. 

In her complaint, filed on Tuesday, the woman has alleged that she and Hiremath met on the morning of February 21 at Delhi’s Khan Market and went to a hotel in Chanakyapuri. During the initial probe, police found that the two had known each other for the last three years. The complaint reads, “I met the accused at a restaurant … where the accused had wine, and I did not consume any alcohol. Following that, the accused asked me to accompany him to his hotel, where he was staying with his family. However, at this juncture, it is crucial to emphasise that I had only agreed to spend time to chat and catch up with the accused, and at no point of time was this an indication of willingness or consent to engage in any sexual activity let alone intercourse.”

The complaint states that before he took her to the room, Hiremath had told her that he would “annihilate” her in the hotel room after which the complainant categorically told him that this would not happen and that she was only there to catch up with him.

The FIR notes: “The accused then said that ‘I have paid Rs. 11,000/- for that hotelrRoom…I’ve come all the way to Delhi and I’ve been your support all these years, and paid for your taxis and food, you can’t do this one thing for me. (sic)”.

The complainant also mentioned that she was afraid of sustaining grievous injuries in case she tried to escape.

After the alleged incident, the woman went home. She lodged a formal complaint with the police two days later.

According to sources, when the woman confronted Hiremath over what he had done and said she was filing a complaint, he acknowledged that she had not consented. He also referred to his family’s ability to deal with any case.

The Wire tried contacting the Times group for a comment but has not received any response. Hiremath’s phone has been switched off.