Sruthi Hariharan
Sruthi Hariharan Image Credit: Instagram/SruthiHariharan

Kannada actress Sruthi Hariharan, who challenged the B-report (closure report) submitted by the Karnataka Police to the court in connection with the 'Me Too' case against popular south Indian actor Arjun Sarja, has been asked to provide evidence by the court, sources confirmed on Friday.

The Cubbon Park police in Bengaluru, which had investigated the matter, had filed a B-report for lack of evidence with the court. The actress had objected to the closure of the case in the court. The 8th Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) court in Bengaluru has issued notice in this regard to the actress and asked her to provide evidence regarding her allegations.

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In October, 2018, Sruthi had written a four-page letter on her social media at the height of 'Me Too' movement and shared her experience on how she was allegedly subjected to sexual misconduct and indecent behaviour by actor Arjun Sarja during the shooting of the movie 'Vismaya'. Sruthi played a lead role against Arjun Sarja in the movie.

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Arjun Sarja PHOTO IANS

Sruthi alleged that before a shot, Arjun Sarja, on the pretext of rehearsal, hugged her and ran his hands up and down her back without her consent. "I was aghast. I am all for depicting realism in cinema, but this felt absolutely wrong. His intent seemed anything but professional. I hated that he did it and was angry that I didn't know what to say then," Sruthi alleged.

She further stated that the incident had happened in front of 50 people. "I wanted nothing but to stay away from him, rather than stay and be tolerant of his lewd and unprofessional behaviour," Sruthi had alleged. "Sarja needs to make sure how he doesn't cross the thin line between two actors and use his position of power to cause another person discomfort," she stated.

The incident had stirred a big controversy in the Karnataka film industry. Though the Kannada Film Chamber of Commerce tried to resolve the issue under the leadership of veteran late actor and politician Ambareesh, it couldn't be resolved as Sruthi lodged a police complaint against the actor. Actor Arjun Sarja outrightly rejected the allegations that Sruthi Hariharan had made and filed a defamation case of Rs 5 crore against her in 2018. An FIR in the case has been lodged against her with the Cyber Crime police.