Venkatesh stalked Shanti (name changed) for seven years, harassed her to have sexual relations with him and threatened to upload her images online if she did not comply.

Bengaluru man arrested for stalking and sexually harassing woman for seven years
news Crime Thursday, August 02, 2018 - 14:10

“He perpetually harassed me to have sex with him. He wanted me to pose for nude pictures. He stalked me for seven years and I finally had enough of it. I was not going to be scared of him any longer,” says 35-year-old Shanti*, a resident of Bengaluru. 

It started in 2011 when Shanti’s neighbour, 46-year-old Venkatesh began visiting her home to say hello to her children. 

One afternoon in March 2011, Shanti and her children were walking home from school when Venkatesh, a cab driver by profession, stopped his car and offered her a ride back to her home located in Katanagar slum in Jalahalli West. 

“I told him not to take the trouble as my house was just at the end of the road. He insisted and my children and I got into the car. He then began to drive in the opposite direction and took me to an unknown area. I was scared at this point and I asked him to turn the car around," she recounts. 

"He immediately locked the car doors and told me that he was in love with me and that he wanted to have sex with me. I panicked and I began yelling at him. I told him that I would tell his wife about the incident. Finally, I told him that I need time to think about all of it and only then did he drop me back home. Once I got out of the car, I slapped him with my slipper and told him not to bother me again," Shanti adds. 

Venkatesh, however, did not stop harassing Shanti. Every time she stepped out to buy groceries or was walking back home from work, Venkatesh would follow her.  

If he managed to catch her alone, he would pester her to have sexual relations with him. She alleges that Venkatesh became agitated and threatened to hurt her if she did not agree to his demands.  

"That's when I told my husband Anil* about the harassment. Venkatesh was my neighbour and my husband went to his house and told his wife about the harassment I was facing. When she confronted Venkatesh in front of everyone, he told his wife that I was lying and that I was the one who approached him. His wife did not believe me and neither did Venkatesh's brother-in-law," Shanti said. 

Since that day till mid-2016, Venkatesh allegedly stalked her and kept sexually harassing her. In 2016, Venkatesh managed to click explicit photos of Shanti and began threatening her that he will upload the pictures online if she did not agree to his demands.  

Scared for her reputation, Shanti told her husband about Venkatesh's threat. This time around, Venkatesh's brother-in-law allegedly intervened and promised Shanti that he would ensure her safety. 

"Venkatesh's brother-in-law told me that he would ensure that Venkatesh did not harass me any longer. Luckily, in 2016, the government demolished the slum and they began constructing new homes for everyone living there. That's when we moved to KG Halli and rented a new home. For a few months, he did not trouble me as he did not know where I lived anymore," Shanti says. 

However, towards the end of 2016, Venkatesh spotted Shanti near a temple in Jalahalli West. Shanti was walking to the bus stop when he intercepted her and once again harassed her.  

"I do a bit of tailoring and I work as a domestic help in a few houses near the temple in Jalahalli. I was very careful not to bump into Venkatesh but that day he saw me. He followed me to my house and since then he knew where I lived. He kept harassing me constantly and in May this year, I knew that he would one day kill me if I did not do anything about it," Shanti says. 

Shanti says that Venkatesh would stand outside her house and watch her movements through her window. On May 5, at around 11 am, when Anil went out for work, Venkatesh barged into Shanti's house and began harassing her.  

"He pulled my saree and demanded that I have sex with him. He tried to remove my clothes and he wanted me to pose for nude pictures. He wanted to click selfies with me. When I tried to fight him off, he threatened to show everyone my photos," she added.  

Shanti managed to break free from his grip. She immediately ran outside and raised an alarm. Her neighbours caught Venkatesh and Anil was informed. Anil rushed back home and he confronted Venkatesh and threatened to file a complaint with the police. 

"He ran away then but he came back in a while with a knife and threatened to kill me and my husband. That's when we dragged him to the police station. We wanted to hand him over to the police. But Ventakesh's wife, his 24-year-old daughter and brother-in-law came to the station and begged us to let him go," Shanti says. 

After assurances from Venkatesh's wife that he would not harass Shanti any longer, she decided not to file a complaint.  

"He had a daughter and two sons. They had not done anything and they would have to suffer. I was scared about the stigma too," she added. 

But Venkatesh did not quit stalking Shanti. For over a month, he kept following her around with a knife in his hand and Shanti began to fear for her life.  

"I used to have nightmares about him killing me when I was walking back home from the grocery store or from work. Finally, I filed a complaint with the police on July 31," Shanti says. 

The Gangammana Gudi Police have registered a case under sections 506 (criminal intimidation), 504 (intentional insult with intent to breach peace), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 354 (assault on a woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 448 (trespassing).  



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