A Bengaluru woman who alleged that she was attacked by a Zomato delivery agent and shared videos showing her bleeding nose said today that she was left shaken by the encounter that lasted a few minutes. Hitesha Chandranee, speaking to NDTV, also emphatically denied the man’s version that she had abused him and hit him with a slipper.
The content creator, her nose bandaged, said that on Wednesday, leading up to the incident, she had been on the phone constantly with Zomato’s customer service over her delayed food order.
“My order was to come in 59 minutes. But when I checked in some time, it showed 61 minutes. I was telling them – stop bluffing, we use our hard-earned money. I had full right to fight with customer support when I am paying. I kept saying either cancel my order or do me a favour by making it free. I said ‘you have option of doing it if the order is not delivered within time’,” Ms Chandranee said.
The delivery man, who was expected at 4.31 pm, showed up at 4.46 pm, according to her.
“The moment I asked him whether Zomato had told him anything about cancelling the order or waiving the charges, he was very rude. He said ‘Ma’am, I have no idea, please don’t waste my time. Give me my money and let me go.”
Ms Chandranee said she then told Zomato’s Customer Care that the man, Kamaraj, was shouting at her. “I told him they are calling you. Then he yelled at me – ‘Am I your naukar (servant)? Should I keep waiting for customer care’s call?’ He sounded very threatening to me,” she said.
She alleged that when he shouted, she tried to shut the door and he pushed against it, saying – “Tu kya kar rahi hai (what are you doing)?” He reached in and grabbed the order and left, she claimed.
“I told him you can’t do this. Then he punched me. It happened within two minutes. I couldn’t understand what was happening. He ran to the lift…I didn’t know my nose was bleeding. When I gathered myself, I went after him and stopped him. He hit me again and, as the lift wouldn’t shut, pushed me and ran down the stairs,” she alleged.
None of this is on camera as there is no CCTV, according to her.
Mr Kamaraj was arrested soon after and is now under temporary suspension from Zomato with a police case against him.
Speaking to The News Minute, he denied striking the woman and claimed she verbally abused him, hit him and accidentally hurt herself. He also claimed he had apologized to her and, after talking to Zomato, asked her to return the food but she refused.
He said when he decided to leave without the food, she began hitting and abusing him in Hindi.
“At this point, when she was trying to push my hand away, she accidentally hit herself with her finger ring on the nose, which led to the bleeding. Anybody who sees her face, will understand that this wouldn’t be created by a punch. And I don’t wear any rings,” Mr Kamaraj told the website.
Ms Chandranee said she never started with abuses, that he was rude first. “It was my reaction out of fear. I panicked. It was in the heat of the moment, it was not intentional,” she told NDTV.
Showing the ring that she said was too blunt to cause that sort of injury, she said: “I never hit him with slippers. When he ran, for my own defence I did it. What if he had done worse?”
The restaurant aggregator’s founder Deepinder Goyal said today the company was, for now, listening to both sides of the story, but also tweeted that their representative had one of the highest performance ratings on the platform.
— Deepinder Goyal (@deepigoyal) March 12, 2021
Mr Goyal said the company would follow the law and assist both sides – Ms Chandranee and Mr Kamaraj – till the probe is concluded.