Television actress Sonal Vengurlekar
Entertainment TV

He tried to forcibly remove my clothes: Sonal Vengurlekar accuses casting director of sexual harassment

Television actress Sonal Vengurlekar, who was last seen in Saam Daam Dand Bhed, recently shared her horrifying sexual harassment encounter. Sonal was just 19 years old back then when photographer and casting director Raja Bajaj tried to forcibly remove her clothes claiming he could teach her tantrik vidya for getting successful overnight. He also rubbed a cream on her breasts forcibly much to her horror.

It all started when Sonal contacted Raja after spotting an audition opportunity on an online portal. After the audition, the photographer suggested her to assist him on a day-long shoot, scheduled in Lonavla. She was unaware of the horrific turn of events about to unfold.

While talking to Bombay Time she said, “This was when I had started giving auditions and chanced upon an opportunity on a casting website. I called on the number mentioned on the site and was told by the person to come for an audition in Borivali. The man happened to be TV actress Sheena Bajaj’s father, Raja Bajaj. I gave the audition, but couldn’t deliver the dialogues well since I was untrained. He told me that I have a good face, but needed to have a better understanding of the profession and suggested that I assist him on a shoot.”

First, the actress was asked to try on some outfits despite her not being part of the shoot and then a cream was forcibly applied on her breasts, leaving her in utter shock.

“After some time, he told me to try out a couple of outfits, though I wondered why he asked me to try out those outfits when the shoot was with another model. He had a bottle of cream in his hand and told me to apply it on my breasts before wearing those, as that would help in giving them a proper shape. Much to my horror, he came forward and applied the cream on my breasts forcibly. I got scared and ran away. What made the situation even scarier was that no one from my family was with me,” she said.

She refused to try on the clothes post the incident and said she would just observe the shoot. However, her ordeal was yet to get over as the casting director in an inebriated state tried to forcibly remove her clothes on pretext of “teaching her tantrik vidya”.

“Later in the evening, when I went back to my room, from where I could see Raja drinking and chatting with the resort manager. He came to my room and said that ‘Aapko main tantrik vidya sikhaunga, jisse aap raaton raat superstar bann jaogi. You have to remove your clothes and sit naked in front of me and repeat the mantra I chant. I snubbed him and said that I didn’t want to learn anything. He, then, stepped forward and tried to forcibly remove my clothes. I somehow managed to get out of the room and went straight to the model and her mother, who were in the adjoining room. Sometime later, the resort manager informed us that he had fled the scene without his belongings.”

The actress went back and shared the incident with a family friend immediately. She filed a police complaint at Kasturba Marg police statation in 2012 itself. The model and her mother, who had accompanied her, also recorded their statements. Raja Bajaj has denied Sonal’s allegations and said, “Sonal came to our house on March 7 and even demanded money. She asked for Rs. 3 lakh and came down to Rs. 1.5 lakh. When we refused, as we knew that we were not in the wrong, she mocked us by saying that we had made tall claims, but didn’t have the money to pay her.”



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