TT Epaper
The Telegraph
Graphiti
 
CIMA Gallary

SRK driver accused of raping minor

Mumbai, June 26: A driver at Shah Rukh Khan’s home has been arrested for allegedly raping a minor after promising her a job at the actor’s household and luring her away from actress Sangeeta Bijlani for whom the teenager worked as a maid.

Rajendra Gautam alias Pintu Mishra, 34, working at Shah Rukh’s Mannat home in Bandra for seven years, “occasionally” drove the star’s children Suhana and Aryan to school, officials at SRK’s Red Chillies Entertainment said. They said Gautam was not SRK’s “personal driver” but handled one of the star’s many cars. “He (Gautam) has occasionally driven his (Shah Rukh’s) children to school and other places,” a Red Chillies official said.

According to police, the rape occurred on June 20 night at a hotel in Nala Sopara on Mumbai’s fringes where Gautam had called the 17-year-old — who hails from a poor family in drought-prone Latur — on the pretext of finding accommodation for her.

Gautam, who is married, had earlier telephoned Bijlani’s home, where the girl had been working for the past five months, promising her the job with a higher salary, assistant commissioner of police Shivajirao Kolekar said. However, Bijlani answered the phone and, miffed that the maid wanted to quit, cleared her dues and asked her to leave.

Gautam then told the victim that Shah Rukh was abroad and he would speak to him about the job once the actor returned, Kolekar said.

Gautam — an Andheri resident who had come to know about the girl from a friend who is a guard in Bijlani’s apartment block not far from Mannat — allegedly warned her later against telling the police about the assault and asked her to return to Latur.

Traumatised, the girl didn’t speak about it for a few days but lodged a complaint yesterday morning. Gautam was held hours later. He faces up to 10 years in jail on charges of rape, criminal intimidation and offences under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.

Shah Rukh is recovering after a corrective eye surgery. “This bed rest thingy has altered my reality completely. Day nite seem the same as long as the curtains r drawn. Coffee to sleep maybe??,” he tweeted today.