The Delhi Police said on Saturday they were investigating a YouTube video that showed a man kissing unsuspecting women in public in what he called a prank widely shared on social media.
Sumit Verma, who appeared to be in his 20s, uploaded the video on his YouTube channel ‘The Crazy Sumit’, calling it the “Funniest Indian YouTube prank of 2017”.
In the clip, Verma can be seen leaning in and kissing a woman in Connaught Place after pretending to ask her a question. He later says sorry and runs away from the spot, evading the woman as she tries to chase him. In another clip, Verma kisses a woman and makes an obscene gesture at her male friend when he tries to catch hold of him.
Other videos by Verma, which were promptly deleted after the police reacted over the incident, included titles such as ‘Seducing girl prank on dad’, ‘Peeing on people prank’, ‘Seducing girl in washroom prank’ and ‘Sex with girlfriend prank on mom’.
The video drew severe criticism on social media platforms, with a popular singer named Raftaar calling it a “disgraceful act”.
“Delhi Police is aware of the video. Criminal aspect of the video is being looked into. No one has approached us yet with a formal complaint and we urge the women to come forward. Investigations have been already initiated on the technical aspects of the case. Moreover, we are in touch with social media and internet service provider,” joint commissioner of police, Depender Pathak, told Hindustan Times.
The incident comes amid recent allegations of women being groped and molested during New Year’s Eve celebrations in Bengaluru.
Verma’s video is not the first such clip to make headlines. Several YouTube users who label themselves as pranksters have globally faced accusations of sexual assault for posting objectionable videos that mostly feature women.
In September last year, a Ukrainian “prankster” grabbed supermodel Gigi Hadid from behind and picked her up as she was exiting a fashion show. Vitalii Sediuk is known to have carried out similar acts in the past, targeting Kim Kardashian and Brad Pitt among others.
On Saturday, Pathak said action will be taken in Verma’s case after investigations. The police have not yet registered a case in the matter.
Soon after news of the police’s probe broke, Verma removed all his videos and posted a new clip, apologising for his actions.
“I didn’t know the video would go viral to this extent. I apologise for this prank and it will never happen again. It was shot only for the purpose of entertainment,” he said in the video.
Verma’s YouTube channel has more than 1.5 lakh subscribers.