The Pondy Bazaar police in Chennai has registered a case against actress Bhanupriya and her brother Gopalkrishna for illegal confinement of a 14-year-old domestic help. The case was initially registered in Samalkot, Andhra Pradesh and has now been transferred to Chennai.
According to reports, Bhanupriya was booked under Sections 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation), 341 (Punishment for wrongful restraint) and 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the IPC and Juvenile Justice Act Sections 75 (Punishment for cruelty to the child) and 79 (Keeping a child under bondage for employment).
In January, a police complaint was filed against the actress by a woman named P. Prabhavathi in Samalkot police station in Andhra Pradesh. She alleged that Bhanupriya withheld pay to her minor daughter who is employed at her Chennai residence even though she had employed after promising to pay Rs 10,000 per month. The complaint also stated that Bhanupriya's bother Gopalakrishnan sexually harassed the 14-year-old girl.
Prabhavathi had also claimed that she not allowed to meet her daughter and was even roughed up when she went to Bhanupriya's house on January 19. Bhanupriya threatened to file a case of theft against her and demanded Rs 10 lakh, she added. The actress responded to the charges saying the maid had been stealing gold jewels for the past few months. Bhanupriya further said it was her brother Gopalakrishnan who caught the maid red-handed and that is why her brother has been dragged into the sexual harassment case.
On reports of employing a minor, Bhanupriya said she was unaware of her age abd claimed that the maid's family had told her she was of 18 years age. The girl was sent to the Government Observation Home in Chennai after the case was lodged. In July, the Juvenile Justice Board acquitted the girl of all charges and she was allowed to go home.