Actor Arjun Sarja, who was recently accused of sexual assault by Kannada actor Sruthi Hariharan, has approached the Karnataka High Court seeking the FIR against him in the case to be dismissed. The Cubbon Park police on October 27 had registered an FIR based on her 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).
Actor Sruthi on October 20 in a long Facebook post had detailed an allegation of sexual harassment by Arjun Sarja during the rehearsal of a romantic scene at the sets of bilingual film Vismaya, released in Tamil as Nibunan.
In the post she stated, "During the rehearsal, we delivered our lines and Mr. Arjun hugs me. With no forewarning or permission, he runs his hands intimately up and down my back. He pulls me closer with my body taut against his and asks the director if we could use this idea of foreplay in the scene."
Later on October 27, the actor approached the police based on which police have registered a FIR. Meanwhile, the Karnataka State Commission for Women has taken suo motu cognisance of the complaints made by her.
"I have written a letter to the Police Commissioner on Saturday and have asked him to submit a report within 15 days time,” Nagalakshmi Bai, Chairperson of the Karnataka Women’s Commission, told TNM.
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 organised campaign against Arjun and of receiving funds from the US to do so. In the face of abuse and criticism, Sruthi stood her ground and proceeded to file an FIR against Prashant Sambargi for threatening her and against Arjun himself.