According to reports by The Daily Mail, Balesh Dhankhar, a well-known member of the Indian community in Sydney, has been accused of enticing five women with a fraudulent job advertisement and subsequently drugging and sexually assaulting them. The article further alleges that Dhankhar specifically targeted Korean women by advertising for a translation job from Korean to English, indicating a preference for this demographic.
He employed a “highly particular modus operandi” where he would lure the women to the bar at the Sydney Hilton Hotel close to his apartment, drug their drinks with Rohypnol or other sedatives, and proceed to sexually assault them at that location. Additionally, he used a concealed camera that he bought on eBay to record himself raping the women using either his cellphone or an alarm clock.
Allegedly, Balesh Dhankhar committed 13 instances of rape from January to October in the year 2018, was charged with 17 counts of improper filming of private moments, 6 counts of offences related to intoxication, and an additional charge of assault involving an indecent act.
Despite spending the past four years attempting to clear his name, he maintains his innocence in the matter.
Police discovered 47 recordings on Dhankhar’s laptop, depicting him engaging in sexual activity with Korean women. In several of the recordings, the women appeared to be asleep and unresponsive, while in others, the encounters involved consenting partners who were unaware of being filmed without their knowledge.
At the time of committing the rapes, Dhankhar was employed as a chief consultant for data visualisation at Sydney Trains. Following his release on bail, he was subsequently hired by both ABC and Pfizer.
As the founder and current president of the Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) in Australia, an organisation that supports India’s ruling political party, he is a prominent figure within the Indian community. Additionally, Balesh Dhankhar has acted as a spokesperson for the Hindu Council of Australia, representing the Hindu faith in inter-faith meetings and participating in multicultural events throughout Australia and the Australasia region.
Testimony given in court revealed that Dhankhar clandestinely established a fraudulent business named The Asia Partnership, using the name of a genuine company he had previously been employed by. To entice women in their mid-20s, he created job postings on Gumtree for a Korean to English translation position in late 2017 and continuing throughout 2018.
After arriving in Australia on October 8, 2018, an unnamed woman came across the advertisement and replied. Shortly after, on the third day, she met with Dhankhar at the Hilton.
She alleged that she declined his invitation to dinner, but he came to meet her at a café the next day and gave her a document to translate. This time, she accepted his offer of dinner, and the two of them went to the adjacent Korean restaurant Koibito, where they shared one or two bottles of soju, according to her testimony.
According to the woman’s account, she felt normal after leaving the restaurant, and she mentioned that she often drank with her friends in Korea, where she could consume three bottles of alcohol without feeling dizzy.
Dhankhar proposed to give her a ride home from Koibito but told her that he had to retrieve his car keys from his apartment. Once they arrived there, he offered her red wine. They sat together on his couch, drank wine, and watched Korean music videos while he taught her salsa dancing. The woman asserted that she could not recollect anything after that.
As per The Sydney Morning Herald’s report, the court was informed that Balesh Dhankhar arranged a bogus job interview with a Korean woman in October 2018. The woman alleged that Dhankhar showed an attraction to her, but she declined his advances.
He invited the woman to his flat and offered her wine. She drank it and began to feel dizzy, prompting her to go to the restroom and message a friend to let them know where she was.
In a text message to her friend, the woman wrote, “Sister, I feel very intoxicated, but it’s a different kind of intoxication. I am worried about myself. He keeps trying to kiss me. I am f***ed up.”
A different woman stated in September 2018 that she had wine and ice cream at Dhankhar’s apartment, but she remembered seeing a condom wrapper and felt pain and dizziness. Following this incident, she reported him to the police at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital two days later.
Prosecutors reportedly found two films of Dhankhar engaging in sexual activity with the woman while she was unconscious and making “distressed sounds.”
In court on Wednesday, the fourth woman who claimed to be a victim shared her story. She stated that she woke up naked on his bed while being raped. Bravely sharing her experience, she told the judge, “He continued even after I woke up, and I asked him to stop. I thought we were just friends.”