Disability Rights activist and model Virali Modi’s Twitter thread has been going viral on social media in which she recounted her harrowing experience. The model, in her thread dated October 3, said that she had responded to a casting call on Instagram by a person known as Rajiv Oberoi who later sexually harassed her.
Virali, in her social media posts, said that after a couple months of her first interaction, he had posted another casting call to which she replied. But the man did not only insult her but also sexually harassed her.
Speaking with FPJ, Virali said that she first got in touch with the accused around a month ago when she had responded to a casting call. After a brief conversation she responded to another casting call for a beauty brand about a week.
"Casting directors meet so many people, you have to remind them that you connected. But he began sexually harassing after that; he was insinuating that in exchange of work, women sleep with him," said Virali.
Social media post on the incident
Sharing screenshots of the accused’s account and their conversation, Modi wrote, “This person posted an ad on Instagram for a casting call regarding a modelling gig for a big brand. He said I was pretty but he wasn’t looking for someone on a wheelchair for that specific modelling gig but he would keep me in mind for future projects.”
“A couple of months later, he posted again for another project. I messaged him again, just to remind him of me. He then proceeds to tell me that if it wasn’t for my condition, he’d be horny for me. To be honest, I was taken aback by his disgusting message and I told him off,” she continued.
The model said that what the accused had said was online sexual harassment and how his words had triggered her and aggravated her condition.
“This is online sexual harassment. Just because he’s ‘influential’ doesn’t give him the right to speak to me or anyone in such a way. This is exploitation of his privilege and ‘influence’. In the age of the #MeToo movement, you would think people in would have common sense but that’s what’s lacking, common sense,” she wrote and added, “My sentiments weren’t hurt by him but it’s aggravated me. I have PTSD because men like him have tried to take advantage of me and my disability.”
Accused defrauds women using fake identity
The following day, on October 4, Modi posted an update on the situation wherein she discovered that the accused Rajiv Oberoi had been using photos of a fugitive businessman Rahul Nanda. She also shared messages from other women who were sexually harassed by him.
When asked about how did she get to know the accused is using a fake identity, Virali said that a person who previously had worked with Rahul Nanda alerted her.
"After they told me about him [Rahul Nanda] I began researching independently and realised that Rajiv Oberoi was a fraud as well. I started to look into his [accused's] social media closely and spotted that their photos with celebrities were also morphed," Modi said.
Sharing FPJ’s earlier article on fugitive businessman Nanda, she wrote, “Rajiv Oberoi has been posing as a producer and casting director. It’s come to light that his whole profile including his website is fake. The photo he’s using is that of Rahul Nanda. Every single photograph of “Rajiv Oberoi” on Instagram is photoshopped or morphed in order to portray himself as an influential media tycoon. Through his “influence” he’s asking women to send him bold photos and/or asking them to “compromise” with the false promise of work.”
She also shared screenshots of a fake website the accused had created online where he said he associated with who’s who of Hindi film industry like filmmaker Luv Ranjan. Tagging authorities she urged them to look into the matter.
When Virali posted screenshots of her chats, two more women came forth and shared their ordeal and said the accused had also harassed them sexually.
"I want to put a face for this man [Rajiv Oberoi]. So far three women have spoken out, how many more women must he have sexually harassed. He should be behind the bars," she said.
Police complaint yet to be filed
Virali Modi is now attempting to get an FIR registered against the accused. Talking about her ordeal to get a complaint filed, she explained that Dombivli police station is not wheelchair accessible and had gone to register a complaint at Bangur Nagar police station which is far more accessible.
However, she was "shooed off" by the police officials and told to file a complaint with nearest police station. "When I brought up Zero FIR, the police said it is only registered for henious crimes," said Virali.
The activist contacted Thane police commissioner who guided her to call cyber crime branch but in vain. She was then advised to speak with senior officer in Dombivli police station.
"I was not allowed to speak with the senior officer and nor were they in the station. After much hassle, they noted down my contact details and said I would be contacted but no one has contacted me yet. I will go to the police station tomorrow to file an FIR," she said.