Bengaluru makeup artist Hitesha Chandranee, in an Instagram video on March 9, alleged that a Zomato delivery executive named Kamaraj assaulted her after a heated argument over the delay in food delivery.
In her video, Chandranee claimed that the delivery executive hit her on her nose after she confronted him over the delay.
With a bleeding nose, Hitesha Chandranee said that her order was late and when she was talking to Zomato customer care to resolve the issue, the delivery guy barged into her house hit her on her nose, and then ran away.
Explaining the whole incident she said, "I ordered food from Zomato at around 3:30 pm which was supposed to get delivered by 4:30 pm. I didn't get my order on time for which I was constantly in touch with customer support to either cancel the order or wave off the charges as Zomato promise to deliver food on time. Meanwhile, the Zomato delivery executive came and started behaving rudely when I confronted him for the late delivery. I didn't open the door fully and I told him to wait as I was on a call with the support team to confirm is the order free, or if not free, then cancel it, through the small slit in the door. I also gave him the choice to take the order back but he refused to take it back and started screaming that he is not my slave, and he will not wait, which was really threatening to me and I got scared."
"I shut the door but he barged in my house, snatched the order and punched me into my face. It was a very scary situation for me. I went to the hospital and there I came to know that my nose has been fractured for which I went under surgery. I am on a high dose of painkiller and antibiotics because of which I am able to talk. The police helped me a lot. I have filed an FIR and submitted a copy of my doctor's prescription."
Zomato's Response To Allegation
After the video went viral on social media, Zomato took cognizance of the matter, apologised to Chandranee in a tweet, and sent a local representative to help her with the police investigation and medical help.
"Hey Hitesha, thank you for speaking to us, we can assure you this is not the experience our delivery universe stands for. Our local representative shall be in touch with you shortly to help you with the police investigation," Zomato tweeted.
After Chandranee filed a police complaint at Electronic City Police Station in Bengaluru which accused Zomato delivery executive, Kamaraj, was arrested.
A senior police officer after the arrest told the media that Kamaraj in his statement alleged that he pushed the girl in his self-defence.
"Based on Hitesha Chandranee's complaint, Kamaraj, the Zomato delivery guy, has been taken into custody. In a statement, Kamaraj said that when he went to deliver the order, the woman asked him for a refund. He told her that refund is not possible from his side after which she refused to take the order and verbally attacked him. She then beat him with slippers and in the self-defence, she was pushed by him which eventually resulted in the injury," The Indian Express quoted the police official as saying.
Kamaraj lost the job of the delivery executive as Zomato suspended him after the woman's complaint, but he refuted the allegation and told that the girl verbally abused him first.
Talking to The News Minute, Kamaraj said, "I was expecting to get paid when I reached her place with the order as the payment option was cash on delivery. The delivery was late for which I apologised to her but she started behaving rudely. She questioned me, 'Why are you late?' for which I apologised to her and told her about the road blockage which is there due to civic works and there was also a lot of traffic jams. But she kept shouting. This is the first time I went through this kind of situation in my two year career with Zomato."
Chandranee took the food and refused to pay. She was on a call with the Zomato chat support. Fearing he would lose the money Kamaraj pleaded with her to pay him. "After I asked her for money she said that I am a slave and asked 'What can I do?'. In the meantime, Zomato told me that the order was cancelled from the customer end so I asked her to return the food but no cooperation was shown from her side. I decided to leave the premise without taking the food. When I moved towards the lift, she abused me in Hindi and threw slippers at me." After which, Kamaraj said he used his elbows to make a shield and protect himself.
Kamaraj in his statement further said, "When Hitesha was trying to push my hands, she accidentally hit her ring on her nose after which bleeding started. If anybody will watch closely at her injury, they can clearly judge how she got injured. That cut on her nose is due to a ring and I don't even wear a ring. I narrated the whole incident to Delhi's Zomato support team and they supported me and empathy was offered by them. The main problem is that there was no CCTV camera placed at her premises which could have helped me in proving my innocence."
After this Kamaraj was called up by the Electronic City Phase 1 Police Station. He also said that police didn't disrespect him in any way, but he had to spend ₹25,000 to cover the legal expenses.
Zomato Statement On This Matter
Speaking on the incident, company founder Deepinder Goyal in a statement said Zomato's topmost priority is truth and that they were in constant touch with Chandranee and Kamaraj to provide them with every support so that stories of both sides comes into light.
In the tweet, Deepinder said, "Right from the get-go, our topmost priority has been to get the truth. Towards that, we are helping both Hitesha and Kamaraj (our delivery partner) with all the support they need while the investigation is pending. We are also assisting the police in whichever way asked."
Goyal in his statement also said that Kamaraj has been temporarily suspended from active deliveries as per the protocol but is covering his earnings in the interim while there's an active police case investigation.
The Zomato CEO also tweeted Kamaraj's performance. Kamaraj has made 5000 deliveries till now and has a 4.75 rating out of 5 which is one of the highest till now. He has been working with Zomato for the past 26 months.