'Worst Rapist in Sydney's History' Led a Pro-BJP Group: Who Is Balesh Dhankhar?

Balesh Dhankhar, a data expert by profession, is an ex-president of the 'Overseas Friends of the BJP' in Australia.

South Asians
3 min read

Video Producer: Shohini Bose

Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma

On Tuesday, 25 April, a district court in Sydney convicted Balesh Dhankhar, the former head of the ‘Overseas Friends of the Bharatiya Janata Party’ in 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, a data expert by profession, is a former president of a group called 'Overseas Friends of the BJP' in Australia.

Dhankhar has often bragged about his access to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a photo on his website showed him shaking hands with Modi.

The website has now been removed. According to a tweet by the OFBJP Australia, he resigned from the organisation in July 2018.

Dhankhar was the media outreach person for a meet and greet session with BJP National Spokesperson Sambit Patra in 2017, where a discussion on the "achievements of Hon. PM Narendra Modi & his government" was held.


A story by The Indian Express from 2014 quotes Dhankhar as a member of the Overseas friends of BJP during Modi’s Australia visit in November 2014.

Moreover, in a 2014 story by Indo-Asian News Service (IANS), Dhankhar is quoted as the “president of Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP)'s Australia chapter.”

According to a purported LinkedIn profile belonging to Dhankhar, the 43-year-old has a Post Graduate diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication, followed by a diploma in Media Arts and Journalism from the University of Technology Sydney.

Dhankhar has also spoken at several events, including lectures on interfaith exchanges at the University of Sydney, on behalf of the Hindu Council of Australia, whose mission is to develop a strong, cohesive and active Hindu community in Australia.

While he was on bail in this case, the purported LinkedIn profile indicates that Dhankhar was hired by pharma-giant Pfizer and news channel ABC on single-year contracts to work as a data visualisation consultant from 2019 and 2021.

Dhankhar's Modus Operandi 

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 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.

His wife was often seen supporting Dhankhar in court, in tears. Moreover, media reports claimed that the ex-OFBJP president sold his family’s assets and property to fund his four-year-long legal defence.

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.

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Topics:  BJP   Australia 

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