Kerala travel vlogger Shakeer Suban, booked by police on Saturday for sexually harassing a 29-year-old Saudi woman, refuted the allegations against him through a video he released on YouTube from Canada on Sunday and claimed that the complainant and her male partner, who is from Kerala, had asked for financial favours from him.
Suban, who runs a YouTube handle by the name ‘Mallu Traveler’ and has over 2.7 million subscribers, was booked by the Ernakulam Central police on the complaint of the Saudi woman who alleged that he had made an attempt to sexually harass her when she had gone to meet him at a hotel in Kochi on September 13.
“An FIR has been registered against the YouTuber under sections 354 (assaulting or using criminal force against a woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 354 (A) (engaging in unwelcome and explicit sexual behaviour) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The probe is ongoing and the accused will be questioned,” said an officer at the Ernakulam Central station.
However, Suban, currently on a tour in Canada, posted a video on his YouTube account dismissing the charges against him as fake.
“The Saudi woman and her partner who is a Malayali man had met me for the first time claiming that they were my fans. They later came to my home also even though I didn’t invite them. On September 13, they came to the hotel room where I was staying in Kochi and their aim was to get financial favours or help in promoting them. The woman had come from Saudi with around ₹5-8 lakh and they had spent all of it. Her partner was not employed,” claimed Suban in his video.
He claimed that the woman had cooked up the allegations against him as she wanted ‘reach’ or attention on social media. He said the hotel has CCTV footage that shows the couple entering and exiting the hotel together. “I will release all the evidence and prove my innocence in court,” he said.
The complainant alleged in a video that Suban molested her while her partner had stepped out of the room briefly. She said she has complained to the police as well as informed the Saudi authorities in India. “I studied law and no one has the right to touch anyone’s body without their permission,” she said.