Melbourne, April 24
Balesh Dhankhar, a prominent member of the Indian community in Australia, was found guilty of raping five Korean women in Sydney after drugging them, a media report said on Monday which described him as “one of the worst rapists” in the city’s recent history.
A District Court jury in Sydney’s Downing Centre on Monday found the “politically connected predator” lured five Korean women into a web of lies, paralysed them with drugs and hoarded trophies of his callous assaults, the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper reported.
It also reported that he was the former chief of the ‘Overseas Friends of the BJP’ in Australia.
Dhankhar also recorded his sexual assaults using a camera hidden in his bedside alarm clock and on his phone, it said.
“Balesh Dhankhar is one of the worst rapists in Sydney’s recent history,” it said.
Dhankhar, a data expert, cried on Monday as the jury foreman replied “guilty” to each of the 39 charges against him.
He asked to remain on bail but Judge Michael King refused before Dhankhar was handcuffed and led away by officers.
Dhankhar, 43, will face court again in May and will be sentenced later in the year, the report said.
Dhankhar’s wife supported him in court, often in tears.
The only time Dhankhar cried was while explaining he lied to women because he was lonely after an extra-marital affair broke down. He blamed his loneliness on the “unfulfilling” intimacy of his marriage, the report said.
Dhankhar sold his family’s assets and properties to fund his legal defence. He was assigned a rising star barrister.
In 2018, police found dozens of videos of Dhankar with other women, the report added.
Sometimes the women are unconscious, other times they struggle and groan as if in a nightmare.
The videos were sorted into folders, each labelled with a Korean woman’s name. Then detectives found a series of bookmarks in Dhankhar’s browser.
One video went for 95 minutes, a montage of unconscious women subjected to sex.
The New South Wales Police officer in charge of Dhankhar’s case, Sergeant Katrina Gyde, suspected Dhankhar was living out a disturbed fantasy.
“The videos (bookmarked online) are very similar to the videos you took,” Crown prosecutor Kate Nightingale said in this month’s trial.
“Not at all,” Dhankhar replied.
“You thought it was fun... watching Korean women who were unconscious, impaired,” the prosecutor said.
“It is just a porn video, it has nothing to do with the unconscious, impaired,” Dhankhar insisted.
Dhankhar recorded his sexual assaults using a camera hidden in his bedside alarm clock and on his phone.
The contents of the videos are too confronting to describe in detail. The jury writhed as they watched the videos. At one stage it became too much and they asked to be sent home early, the report said.
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