Rape-accused Balesh Dhankhar takes the stand in Sydney court

Alleged serial rapist Balesh Dhankhar of Sydney, who once enjoyed high profile in the local community, wept in court as he answered questions

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Former president of the Overseas Friends of BJP Balesh Dhankhar, and accused of multiple counts of rape, wept as he appeared before court on Wednesday 29 March.

Dhankhar, who once enjoyed high profile in Sydney’s Indian community, has been accused of luring several Korean women with fake job advertisements, raping them, and filming them. At the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney he answered questions from his lawyer in his defense.

He revealed that he was under stress due to a breakup with a woman in August 2018.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Dhankhar answered questions about pornography found on his computer. There was also a video in the “K-Fun” folder of him having sex with a Korean woman who appeared to be sleeping.

“Did you have any interest, at any time, in watching sleeping Korean women having sex in pornography?” asked Dhankar’s lawyer Rebecca Mitchell.

“No,” Dhankhar said.

“Did you have any interest… in watching drugged Korean women having sex in pornography?”

“No,” Dhankhar repeated.

SMH reports lawyer Mitchell also asked Dhankhar about the alleged fake advertisements he posted on Gumtree in 2017-18. These ads were offering jobs to Koreans with an English translation. Dhankhar denied that there were any such jobs and claimed that he was only trying to meet and socialise with women.

“I was somewhat feeling guilty, bad, that this is not an official job,” he told the court.

“At the same time, when we talked about other things aside from translation jobs, lots of things between us were in the common interest.”

Mitchell also asked about the use of different names and email accounts for communicating with the women who responded to his advertisements. In response, Dhankhar began to cry and said that he had gone through a breakup with a woman at that time.

“I was confused around this time, it was around August 2018, this time was very difficult,” Dhankhar said.

“I just made wrong decisions interacting with people in this manner.”

In his statement, Dhankhar conceded to having lied about himself “immorally”.

The jury members watched hours-long video footage allegedly showing Dhankhar having sex with women. The footage was allegedly filmed by a camera installed in an alarm clock placed near the bed.

Read: Taxi driver, guilty of sexual assault with a passenger, denied visa

Last month, Dhankhar’s lawyer Rebecca Mitchell had told the jury that the sex and filming were consensual.

Several women have accused Dhankhar of raping them. They told the jury that he met them at the same Hilton cafe, after which they were taken to a Korean restaurant. Later, they were taken to an apartment under false pretences. The women said that after going to the apartment, they had a little wine and then they became unconscious.

The police allege that Dhankhar had put sleeping medicine in the wine. Dhankhar’s lawyers have denied this allegation.

“I told him ‘I really don’t want to do this’,” one of the alleged victims told the court. “I didn’t have any strength in my body… it was difficult for me to resist him.”

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