The #MeToo movement is going strong in India and we are getting new names each day every day. The latest one to join the list of the culprits is none other than, Afsar Zaidi, Co-Founder of Exceed. Read on…
A shocking news of another horrifying and shameful #MeToo incident of a man in power molesting vulnerable women who work under them has surfaced the Internet and it is downright disgusting. Afsar Zaidi, who is the co-founder of Exceed and is known to be an influential man from the industry has been accused by a survivor for allegedly grabbing her from behind and going for her breasts at a private party. Afsar, who is known to be close with big celebrities like Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Bipasha Basu etc has denied all the reports but the two survivors have claimed that he is a lecherous man.
The survivor who joined the firm in 2o14 went on to reveal that since Day 1, Zaidi always made sure that he called her in-front of him and talked about what is she wearing in-front of the whole office. She thought that it was okay till the day the black day came. She said, “He would make me stand in the middle of the office and ask everyone to dress like me. Initially, it was flattering, but after a point, it was systematic. On certain days, he would make comments like, ‘Are we showing too much back today?’ He would look me up and down.”
Continuing the story, she talked about how her only purpose on an International trip was to woo one of Exceed’s leading clients Ajit Thakur as advised by Afsar. She told, “During a chat with other colleagues, my boss took me aside and told me that Ajit wanted me to help him get women. I thought he was joking at first.” It seems the lady expressed her reservations to Zaidi who told her that “Yeh sab karna padta hai”. The former employee says she warned other women to get away from the spot before the guys came on them. She went on and said, “Ajit continued the ‘after party’ in my CEO’s room where he repeatedly came onto me.” Not to forget, Ajit has also been accused of sexual molestation recently.
This doesn’t end here! When she finally complained to Zaidi about Ajit’s behavior, it was ignored and was she wasn’t heard. And, Afsar finally showed his colors at a party of his own at his office where the survivor went. She says, “Afsar has a terrace next to his cabin where he was hosting the party. I was told that Hrithik Roshan, Bipasha Basu, and Shilpa Shetty were to eventually make an appearance with their respective managers. Afsar was physically grabbing people and pouring drinks down their throats. While I kept dodging him, at one point, he grabbed me from behind, put his hands on my breast and forced me to down a drink. He did this a few more times in the course of the evening. He was drunk by midnight. It was then that he came to me again and started rubbing his penis up against my back.”
She continued, “I froze and didn’t know how to respond. I remember him saying, ‘If you like it, push back harder.’ That’s when I pushed him with my elbow and angrily said, ‘Is it hard enough for you?’ He was so drunk that he didn’t register my rage. Instead, he got turned on and invited me to his room for sex. I ran to a colleague for help, but he kept following me. I tried mustering the courage to talk to the HR person when a few minutes later, another woman came screaming out of Afsar’s cabin. She was hysterical and it turns out, she became his prey that night when I said no.” Apparently, this whole incident was witnessed by 30 people but no one said anything.
The second survivor revealed that she could be raped the same night but somehow saved herself. When Afsar Zaidi was contacted, he termed all the accusations as false and was quoted saying, “The allegations that appear to have been made are without basis, and are an attempt to malign me and defame my reputation and that of my company. The company has in place a policy for sexual harassment at the workplace. If the complainant has a genuine case, let her come forward and present it before the ICC constituted by the firm. This matter should not be one for trial by the media — there are systems in place in law and those should be used to ensure fairness and justice. I deny the allegations in entirety, they have been made without any basis or an iota of evidence. I plan to take appropriate legal action as may be advised.”