Pune: A Pandora’s box of alleged sexual harassment meted out to women by Khodu Irani at his pub High Spirits (HS) has opened up, as another girl has come forward and spoken about her ordeal. An insider, on the condition of anonymity, informed that Irani was a habitual molester and was promoting a culture of sexism and discrimination on the basis of looks in the pub.
Saleena Agrawal, presently based in New York and has previously worked at High Spirits during her college days in Pune, informed Sakal Times that she was sexually abused by Irani more than dozens of times during her tenure.
She said, “I worked there for 6 months between 2013-2014. All I can remember is the feeling of being violated. He would touch me inappropriately and comment about my body. There would be an incident of violation of my personal space at least once a week, if not more. Everyone including myself normalised it so much that we didn’t think much of it when it happened.”
We are guilty of staying quiet. But it was his environment so it was really scary to come out and say anything.”
“I did see him getting handsy with women quite regularly and brushed it off as some sort of normal behaviour. But it is anything but normal. I did not alert the authorities. He kissed me forcefully on my lips, right in front of his wife, who I think is equally at fault for not saying anything and letting him get away with it.”
Objectification of women
An insider at High Spirit, on the condition of anonymity, informed that sexual harassment and objectification of girls became a norm and anybody raising voice against this was shown the door. He said, “Groping the girls working or visiting High Spirits was a very normal thing for Khodu. He has made the pub a place for the objectification of women. People coming there were college students in their early twenties and became a victim of the culture of sexism and discrimination he was promoting.” An insider informed that Irani used to pay young boys and girls, who were regulars, to get their college friends to the pub, often offering free drinks.
Good looks only
“There is a core group of 10 people including Khodu’s wife who are in the pub on daily basis. No one can mess with them, they are like courtiers of the pub and Khodu is the king. Body shaming, sexual harassment, getting abusive with the girls is a very normal thing for Kodu and his core group,” added the insider. He revealed that average looking people were not entertained in High Spirits.
He said, “They used to make excuse to them at the entrance that some private party is going on at the venue. They just want young crowd inside the pub. He had created an atmosphere where young people can get high and can easily avail sex.”
Irani currently in Goa?
- A source informed Sakal Times that Khodu Irani had good connections with the police and used to entertain them at High Spirits.
- If anybody raised any objection against the sexually indecent behaviour of Irani, she or he was asked to leave the pub immediately by him and his group.
- According to sources, Irani is currently in Goa. Sakal Times tried to contact Irani, his relatives and managers but they didn’t respond.
- Anil Patrudkar, Police Inspector, Mundhwa police station, said, “We have been aware of the issue but till now nobody has approached us to file a complaint against him.”