(Trigger warning: Mention of sexual assault, graphic details.)
Balesh Dhankhar, a 43-year-old Indian-origin man, was, on Monday, 24 April, convicted by a district court in Sydney, Australia of raping five South Korean women after drugging them.
The district court jury in Sydney’s Downing Centre found that the politically connected predator lured five women into a web of lies, paralysed them with drugs and hoarded trophies of his callous assaults, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Dhankhar is a former head of a group called 'Overseas Friends of the BJP' in Australia. A photo on his website showed him shaking hands with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The website has now been removed.
Dhankhar has been quoted in the past by Indian publications on Bharatiya Janata Party-related events.
Promise of a Non-Existent Job
Dhankhar lured young women new to the city with the promise of a job. He posted ads on a website called Gumtree with a fake job opening for Korean-English translation work.
He interviewed the women who reached out to him at Sydney's Hilton hotel cafe, up the road from his apartment.
Then Dhankhar would make an excuse to go up to his apartment in World Square Tower. He sometimes promised them a view of the Opera House, or claimed he needed his car keys, the report said.
Dhankhar would put sedatives in the wine or ice-cream he offered to the women.
Dhankhar Recorded His Sexual Crimes
Dhankhar had installed a spy camera in the alarm clock beside his bed. He had recorded and stored footage of his multiple sexual assaults with drugged, unconscious women.
He also had an interest in pornography where women were unconscious or asleep, the report said.
During the trial, Dhankhar didn't deny having sexual acts with the women or the recordings but he denied that they were non-consensual or that the women were drugged.
“Small drugged Korean f---ed webcam roleplay,” read the title of a video bookmarked on his computer.
Officers allegedly found 47 videos of him engaged in sexual intercourse with Korean women stored in folders bearing women’s names.
The jury found it hard to sit through the videos. At one point, it got too much for them and they requested the judge to send them home early.
Dhankhar had also maintained an elaborate spreadsheet with the names of the women who had responded to his ad and their behaviour when he met them.
“Keeps cancelling meeting, very hot, keep trying,” he wrote next to one woman’s name.
The jury found Dhankhar "guilty" in all 39 charges against him. He asked to remain on bail but the judge refused his request. The court will decide the quantum of the sentence later in the year.