HC stays case against film producer in complaint by actress Sruthi Hariharan

PTI | | Posted by Yamini C S

The High Court of Karnataka has stayed the proceedings against producer-distributor Prashanth Sambargi in a complaint lodged by actress Sruthi Hariharan. The case is an offshoot of the ‘Me Too’ allegations made by the actress against actor Arjun Sarja.

Sruthi Hariharan had accused Arjun Sarja of sexual misconduct during the shooting of the film Vismaya. On October 25, 2018, the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) had called both for mediation between the two under the aegis of veteran actor Ambareesh.

READ | MeToo: Actor Sruthi Hariharan not ready to settle, says will fight Arjun Sarja in court

During the meeting, Sarja’s aide Sambargi was also present and Sruthi Hariharan accused him of making statements to the media against her, intruding her privacy and indulging in character assassination. Sambargi had alleged that the ‘Me Too’ campaign against Arjun Sarja was funded by money from New York.

The actress had complained against Sambargi the same day in the High Grounds Police Station and the case is pending before the VIII Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court, Bengaluru. Sambargi filed a petition before the HC challenging this case. Sambargi was charged under Section 506 (criminal intimidation) and Section 509 (hurt the modesty of woman) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

READ | Arjun Sarja files 5 cr defamation suit against Sruthi Hariharan

After hearing the petition, Justice K Natarajan stayed further proceedings in the case against Sambargi. Sambargi has sought quashing of the complaint. The HC will hear this petition again on February 1, 2023. In an earlier hearing of the petition, the HC had noted, “The petitioner (Sambargi) and respondent (Sruthi Hariharan) are said to be from film industry and there was meeting at Film Chamber and there was some derogatory statements made by the petitioner.”

Last November, the police filed a B-report in the sexual misconduct case filed by Sruthi Hariharan against Arjun Sarja. Sruthi did not file a protest memo against this closure report and therefore the jurisdictional court accepted the police report in January this year thus ending the case. The police had failed to secure any evidence on the allegations made by Sruthi Hariharan in the ‘Me Too’ complaint.