Co-director of the 2010 film Peepli Live, Mahmood Farooqui, has been arrested by the Delhi Police on charges of sexually assaulting a US national in New Delhi. In her complaint to the New Friends Colony police, the 35-year-old Columbia University student said Farooqui forced himself on her at a party on March 28.
Farooqui’s wife Anusha Rizwi, who also directed Peepli Live, said the complaint was “manipulated and false”.
According to the police, the complainant had approached Farooqui through a common contact for help with her thesis on Indian sects. She wanted information on the Gorakhnath sect in eastern UP’s Gorakhpur where Farooqui hails from. The woman said she became well-acquainted with him after a few meetings.
According to the complaint, Farooqui invited the research scholar to a party at his Sukhdev Vihar residence on March 28. A senior police officer said, “The woman alleged that Farooqui got drunk at the party and took her to a separate room where he forced himself on her. She alleged that despite resistance from her, Farooqui imposed himself on her and misbehaved. She said she left the party soon after.”
She returned to the US soon after and wrote an email to Farooqui who apologised for misbehaving with her. The woman later approached the police here through diplomatic channels.
She then returned to India and lodged a formal complaint on June 19. “She came to India and gave a written complaint to the police along with the records of the email in which Farooqui confessed to have assaulted her and apologised for the same. Following this a case of rape was registered against him and the arrest was made,” police said.
In a statement, Farooqui's wife Anusha Rizwi said, "The complaint is manipulated, false and belated. We don’t want to make any further comments on the matter because the case is under investigation. We will wait for the court’s decision where the actual truth of the matter will come out. We are determined to fight this till the reality is presented before the people. We are very sure of it."
Farooqui - an alumnus of Doon School, St Stephens and Oxford University - has been sent to judicial custody till July 6.