Balesh Dhankhar, a prominent figure of Sydney’s Indian community, is charged with drugging and raping five women after luring them with a phoney job post. The Daily Mail claims Dhankhar showed a particular interest in Korean women and specifically targeted them with a job ad for translation work from Korean to English.
He operated according to a “very specific modus operandi” in which he would entice the women to the Sydney Hilton Hotel bar near his flat, spike their drinks with Rohypnol or other sleeping pills, and then rape them there. Using a covert camera he purchased on eBay, he also recorded himself raping the woman using his cellphone or an alarm clock.
Balesh Dhankhar is accused of 13 charges of rape allegedly committed between January and October 2018, 17 counts of inappropriate filming of intimate moments, 6 counts of intoxication-related offences, and an assault charge involving an indecent act.
He has expressed his innocence in the matter and has spent the previous four years trying in vain to have his name cleared.
47 recordings of Dhankhar having sex with Korean women were found in his laptop by the police. The women were often asleep and unresponsive in the recordings. Others had consensual individuals who were unaware they were being secretly recorded throughout the act.
Dhankhar worked as a lead data visualisation consultant for Sydney Trains at the time he committed these rapes. While on bail, he was hired by ABC and Pfizer.
Being the founding president of the Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP), an organisation that supports India’s ruling party in Australia, he is a well-known member of the Indian community in Australia. Balesh has also been a spokesperson for Hindu Council of Australia and represent the Hindu faith in the inter-faith meetings and to take part in the multicultural activities in Australia and the Australasia region.
According to testimony given in court, Dhankhar secretly formed a fake business called The Asia Partnership with the name of a legitimate company he had previously worked for. In order to attract the women, who were all in their mid-20s, he put job listings on Gumtree for a Korean to English translator in late 2017 and throughout 2018.
On October 8, 2018, the day after landing in Australia, the unnamed woman saw the advertisement and responded. Three days later, she met Dhankhar at the Hilton.
She claimed that after she turned down his invitation to dinner, he visited her the following day at a café and gave her a document to translate. This time, she agreed to his invitation to dinner, and the two of them proceeded to the adjacent Korean restaurant Koibito while splitting one or two bottles of soju.
The woman said that she felt fine after leaving the restaurant and that she frequently drank with her friends back in Korea, where she could have three bottles by herself without being dizzy.
Balesh Dhankhar offered to drive her home from Koibito but said he needed to collect his car keys from his apartment. When they got there, he gave her red wine. He taught her salsa dancing while they sat in his coach enjoying the wines and watching Korean music videos. She claimed to remember nothing after that.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the court was informed that Dhankhar met a Korean woman in October 2018 to conduct a fake job interview. The woman claimed that Dhankhar had expressed interest in her but that she had rejected him.
He then led the lady to his flat and invited her to enjoy a drink of wine. After drinking the wine, she felt lightheaded and went to the restroom to text a friend where she was.
She wrote in her message, “Sister, I feel very intoxicated however slightly different kind of intoxication. And I am worried myself. Keeps trying to kiss me. I am f***ed up.”
In September 2018, a different woman claimed to have had ice cream and wine at Dhankhar’s flat. She recalled a condom wrapper while experiencing pain and dizziness. Two days later, the woman reported him to the police at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.
Two films of Dhankhar reportedly having sex with the woman while she was unconscious and making “distressed sounds” were allegedly discovered by prosecutors.
On Wednesday, the fourth of his claimed victims bravely shared her account in court, stating that she had woken up naked on his bed while being raped. She told the judge, “He kept doing it when I woke up, and I said can you stop, I thought we were just friends.”
“I remember I started to cry and told him I wanted to go home. He was trying to soothe me down, it’s OK, don’t cry, you’re OK,” she claimed.
The court was informed that Dhankhar reportedly bookmarked and viewed a significant amount of pornography featuring Asian women and much more including Koreans. Videos apparently featured women who were either asleep or unconscious.
Balesh Dhankhar is currently on trial on 39 counts, including 13 instances of rape allegedly committed between January and October 2018. The case’s trial is currently under process.