Director Accused of Harassing Singer

A short film director who allegedly harassed a singer has been arrested and charged. Medikayala Naveen Kumar, a resident of Bengaluru and short film director, was taken into custody by the Rachakonda police on Saturday, July 18 after he allegedly harassed a Telugu playback singer by creating fake social media profiles using her likeness, the Times of India and ANI reported.

According to the outlets, Kumar's harassment began after he initially saw the victim, who is a famous playback singer in the Telugu Film Industry, in an interview and joined her fan page on Facebook. After joining the page, the film director began to like and comment on every post. He later began to create social media accounts on various platforms in the singer's name, including a YouTube channel, which created in her name and used a photo of the victim as the logo. Just a week later, Kumar allegedly started a film production company in her name without the victim’s consent. According to ANI, under this production company, Kumar uploaded a series of web series, album songs, and short films. He also reportedly planned to produce and release a big-screen film, with Kumar intending to use the logo bearing the victim’s likeness for the film.

After learning of the social media accounts and production company, the victim requested that Kumar stop using her name and images for his social media activities, though he refused to stop. ANI reports Kumar forced the victim to give a NOC (No Objection Certificate) so he could continue. He then created different social media profiles, still using her name and image. The victim's father eventually filed a complaint with police against Kumar.

"My daughter, a famous playback singer in Telugu film Industry, noticed that some unknown person had created a film production company on her name, displayed her pictures as logo and further created social media accounts on her name using her pictures," the singer's father wrote in the complaint, which also detailed the various forms of harassment his daughter faced.

Kumar was taken into custody on July 18 by the cybercrime unit of Telangana Police. He was arrested under Section 354 D, 509, 417, 419 of IPC besides the Information Technology Act. Local authorities confirmed, "the case has been registered under various sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and IT Act. The accused was arrested and has been sent to judicial custody." Amid the investigation, one mobile phone belonging to Kumar, which he is alleged to have used in committing the offenses, was seized, police confirmed.