Hitesha Chandranee, a Bengaluru based content creator, alleged that she was “attacked” and “abused” by a Zomato delivery executive. On 9th March, Hitesha Chandranee, a Bengaluru-based content creator and make-up artist, posted an Instagram video in which she alleged to have been beaten and abused by a delivery executive employed by Zomato. In the video, Hitesha, seen with a bruise across her nose, says that she did not receive her order on time and further accused the delivery executive of rude behaviour.
The video garnered mixed reactions on social media, with many empathizing with Hitesha, while the others called for the delivery executive’s side of the story.
Series Of Events
In the video, Hitesha says that she placed an order through Zomato at 3:30 pm on 9th March, which was to be delivered at 4:30 pm. But, since the order did not reach her on time, she got in touch with its customer support service, asking them to either waive off the food order charges or cancel them.
While on a call with the customer care representative, Hitesha says the delivery executive, identified as Kamaraj, arrived at her door. She added that, since she was on call, she asked him to wait, which is when she alleges that he barged into her home, verbally abused her, and attacked her, leaving her with a bloody and fractured nose. Hitesha said she suffered a nasal bone fracture.
In the video, Hitesha says that she does not usually open the door because of her pet dog, but this time around, she opened the door a little and, through the small gap, asked the delivery executive to wait. She added that she gave the delivery person a choice saying, “I do not need the order so you can take it, I am okay”.
In response, she says, the delivery person refused to take back the order and began screaming at her. Hitesha said she felt threatened, adding that as she tried to shut the door, the delivery executive barged into her home, snatched her order from the table, and punched her on her face to obstruct her from getting back at him eventually running away.
Hitesha posted a miniature version of the video on Twitter as well. Responding to her post on Twitter, Zomato’s official handle stated that they would co-operate in the ongoing police investigation and pay for the required medical expenses.
As the video went viral across social media platforms, Kamaraj was arrested by the Bengaluru police. However, he was later granted conditional bail. Following the incident, Zomato informed Kamaraj that he had been delisted from the platform and that the company would bear his legal costs.
On 12th March, three days after the incident, Kamaraj broke his silence on the incident and refuted the allegations made against him. Speaking to ANI, Kamaraj claimed that Hitesha was the first to abuse him verbally and even threw a “chappal” at him. He stated that he apologized for the delayed delivery due to traffic and bad roads, to which she responded rudely.
“That day I reached the customer’s apartment and before I gave her food order, I told her that I am late and to please accept the order. I then gave her the food order. She placed it on a table near the door. Since it was a COD delivery, I asked her for the amount to be paid. She told me to wait since she was chatting with customer care.” Kamara further added that Hitesha refused to pay for the order and, due to the late delivery, asked for it for free, all this while she was talking with customer care simultaneously.
“I requested her not to complain since it will be trouble for me. She then very rudely in English told me to wait. I asked not to speak in that language since I am a delivery boy and not a slave,” Kamaraj stated. He added that Hitesha got agitated and said, “so what if you are a slave, what will you do, wait there” following which she refused to pay for or return the order, claiming that the order was free.
In response, he claimed that he requested her to pay for the Cash-on-delivery (COD) order since she received it. On refusing to pay, Kamaraj said that he picked up the parcel placed near the door, following which Hitesha pushed and cursed him in Hindi.
Following the altercation, Kamaraj stated that Hitesha picked up a slipper, hit him with it, and threw it at him. “She started hitting me with slippers and at some point in time while safeguarding myself, my left hand touched her right hand and the ring which she worn hit her nose and it started bleeding,” he said.
He further stated that he decided not to stay there after seeing her injury. Kamaraj claimed that, while leaving, the woman stopped him from using the lift, and he decided to take the steps and ran down. He added that, by the time he got down the stairs, the customer called him and told him to leave the place. They cancelled the order and took the food item back, he said.
Following Kamaraj’s account. Zomato founder, Deepinder Goyal, posted a Twitter statement, ensuring both parties’ support until the investigation is complete.
On 16th March, Kamaraj filed a complaint against Hitesha, based on which the Bengaluru police registered a First Information Report (FIR) against her. Based on the complaint lodged by Kamaraj, the police booked her under sections 355 (assault), 504 (insult), and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.
Denying allegations, the delivery executive said that he does not want to complicate the situation and will fight the battle legally. “I don’t want to make it more complicated, let the truth win. If not, I will fight it legally. I have a mother with co-morbid conditions, my father died 15 years back, I am the only breadwinner for my family. I am working in Zomato for the past 26 months with 4.7 ratings. As of now, the company has blocked my ID until this case completes and assured of taking it back once the matter resolves,” he said.
Following the FIR registration, initial reports claimed that Hitesha left Bangalore after her address was leaked online, after a deluge of hate against her actions. The police said that they had called Hitesha to appear for questioning, but she said that she had left the city and was at her aunt’s house in Maharashtra. The police say that they have given time to make her statement once she returns but made clear that they would arrest her if she fails to appear before them.
On 19th March, Hitesha took to Instagram, denying claims that she had left the city. Through an Instagram post, she revealed that following the incident, she has been receiving threats and that her family were threatened too.
“I have been received many calls from various people using repulsive and threatening words against me. They have threatened my life and have even threatened to harm my family,” she wrote. She added that she has been cooperating with the police and is awaiting an impartial probe by the investigating agencies.
Over the past few weeks, the matter has gained traction with mixed reactions from both sides. Zomato has pledged support for both parties, but what the investigation reveals remains to be seen.