This story contains explicit content and images. Viewer discretion is advised.
The usually sedate city of Pune has over the past week witnessed dozens of victims come forward with stories of sexual abuse at the popular Koregaon Park dance-club and cafe, ‘High Spirits’. Many of these women and men have directly accused the owner of High Spirits, Khodu Irani, who they allege is a psychological abuser, harassive employer and serial molester. A tweet from Sheena Dabholkar was the first to trigger a barrage of responses from victims of Irani’s groping and abusing, some claiming that he even molested and physically assaulted them.
Do men even understand that their disgusting behaviour and shitty value systems are literally bad for business
— Sheena (@weeny) October 11, 2017
We reached out to High Spirits and Irani for comments, but did not receive a reply. [We have received a response since the piece was published]. However, Indus Dictum interviewed two erstwhile members of his inner circle, who have known Irani, his team and even some of the victims for several years. They allege to have personally witnessed Irani objectifying, sexually abusing, and harassing patrons, employees, performers and the entire spectrum of visitors at High Spirits. For fear of backlash from the “Khodu Army”, they wish to remain anonymous.
During the course of our interview, ID uncovered several screenshots of messages and text-conversations between Khodu and the alleged victims of his abuse. These screenshots contained explicit messages from Khodu, asking women questions like, “Should I come to Chennai for a booty call?”, “Where are your boobies?”, “How about a quickie?” and “Do you take dicks in your mouth?”. ID has reached out to the recipients of these messages for verification.
The two former associates of the “Khodu Army” were also members of a facebook group called ‘High Homies’ moderated by Khodu Irani and his team. Although most offensive posts have been deleted and the group largely sanitised since the controversy began, ID has acquired several screenshots of the posts made in this group. These are published below, and may contain highly explicit content. We have censored some images for privacy.
High Spirits is alleged to have also served alcohol to underaged men and women.
If that’s not enough, here is another example of the ideology encouraged in the ‘High Homies’ group:
Former employees have also spoken up about their abusive experiences while working at High Spirits. Below is an excerpt from a blog by Divya, who was a Personal Assistant to Khodu Irani:
“I complained about being groped and bullied by my boss to his spouse, and so he (my boss) then poured a pint of beer on my head during my shift, me told that if I went home to change, or ever brought this up to her (his spouse) again, I would lose my job. I took a break to go and cry in the parking lot, and came back to my desk.”
Women and men have accused High Spirits of objectifying women, enabling harassers and institutionalising abuse.
We have received a response from the establishment since publishing the article, which can be viewed here.
If you or someone you know has any information on the victims or allegations, or if you need help, please contact us.
This is an ongoing story.
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