A woman from East Godavari in Andhra Pradesh has filed a complaint against actor Bhanupriya at the Samalkot police station, accusing her of taking her 14-year-old daughter to Chennai as domestic help and allegedly harassing her. The woman has further alleged that the girl was not paid regular salary, was harassed and the family was not allowed to meet her. The actor has however denied these allegations.
The 14-year-old girl, was employed by Bhanupriya at her residence in Chennai. On Friday, the girl’s mother, Prabhavathi, filed a missing complaint with the Samalkot police station in East Godavari. Prabhavathi, in her complaint, has stated that the girl was employed at Bhanupriya’s house through agents with the promise of being paid Rs 10,000 every month.
However, after the girl was taken to Chennai, they did not receive any communication from her for many months, the woman alleged.
The girl's family and relatives visited Bhanupriya's residence earlier this month after they received an anonymous call, claiming that their daughter is being harassed by Bhanupriya's brother Gopala Krishna.
In her complaint to the police, Prabhavathi has said that Gopala Krishna allegedly threatened them and sent them away. She has also alleged that Bhanupriya demanded Rs 10 lakh for releasing Prabhavathi’s daughter. The actor alleged that the girl had stolen valuables from the house. According to the police, the girl is still at the actor’s house.
Later, with the help of Child Welfare groups, the victim's mother filed a complaint with the police.
"We sent her to work in Chennai. when we asked them to send her back, Bhanupriya's brother said that the other six househelps were on leave, and told us that they will send my daughter home once they return,” Prabhavathi told the media.
Alleging that her daughter was abused, she said, "My daughter apparently has bruises on her face."
An officer at the Samalkot station told TNM that he had not registered an FIR as the alleged crime had occured in Chennai. “We have asked the woman to go to Chennai,” he said.
The SI also mentioned that Bhanupriya told him that the girl had stolen valuables worth Rs 1.5 lakh from her house. “According to the actor, when she threatened to file a complaint, Prabhavati decided to malign her reputation and register a false complaint.”
However, under the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act 2016, those accused of employing children below 14 years of age for any work can get up to two-year imprisonment and a fine of maximum Rs 50,000. The mother is also punishable for giving away the child for labour.
Bhanupriya meanwhile, claimed that she did not know the age of the girl.
Bhanupriya is a popular actor in south India, dancer and a voice-artiste. She is known for her work in Kannada, Malayalam and a couple of Bollywood films. Her Telugu movie Sitaara was widely acclaimed and is known for her roles in other movies like Anveshana, Swaranakamalam, Azhagan and Dosti Dushmani, among others.