Sydney man charged with drugs, filming his sexual assaults on Korean women
A man described as a “prominent member” of Sydney’s Indian community is currently on trial for 13 counts of rape, among multiple other sex crimes, in Australia.
Balesh Dhankhar, former president of the Indian diaspora organization OFBJP Australia, stands accused of rape by five women, all Korean and in their mid-twenties. The women claimed they were lured to Dhankhar on the pretext of offering them jobs before he drugged and raped them in his apartment between January 2018 and October 2018.
Dhankhar reportedly posted a job advertisement for a Korean-to-English translation job on the classifieds site Gumtree to attract women to the bar at the Sydney Hilton hotel, located near his apartment.
After allegedly spiked their drinks with sleeping pills or Rohypnol, a benzodiazepine associated with date rape due to its solubility, he would take them to his apartment and rape them. He allegedly used his cell phone or an alarm clock with a hidden camera to film himself raping his victims.
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According to court documents, a korean woman who met Dhankhar for a fake job interview in October 2018 said Dhankhar had expressed interest in her but she told him she was not interested.
She shared that after consuming the wine he gave her in his apartment, she felt dizzy and went to the bathroom to message her friend where she was.
“Sister, I feel very drunk but a slightly different type of intoxication,” the victim wrote in his text. “And I myself am worried. Keep trying to kiss me…I’m screwed.
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Another victim recounted how Dhankhar gave her ice cream and a glass of wine in her apartment in September 2018. All she remembered was seeing a condom wrapper, feeling dizzy and to have felt pain. Two days later, she went to the hospital and reported the incident to the police.
According to prosecutors, the woman appeared in two videos where she was unresponsive and making “distress sounds” while Dhankhar had sex with her.
During a police raid on his home in October 2018, investigators reportedly found a hard drive containing 47 videos that show Dhankhar having sex with Korean women.
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Most of the clips show women unconscious, while others show women who appear to have consented to the act but were unaware they were being filmed.
The jury would have asked leave the courtroom at trial this week after the scenes featured in the videos proved too much for them to handle.
DNA evidence was also recovered from Dhankhar’s bedding along with a spreadsheet with names of women on his phone and notes that appear to refer to sexual activity.
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Dhankhar pleaded not guilty to 13 counts of rape, 17 intimate recordings without consent, six counts of using intoxicants to commit an indictable offense and assault with an act of indecency.
For the past four years, he has tried to have his name removed from press articles, but to no avail.
Dhankhar was a “senior data visualization consultant” for Sydney Trains at the time he allegedly committed the crimes. While on bail, he was hired by ABC and Pfizer.