Meet the plaintiff against Ranveer Singh

Over the past week, five words have entrenched themselves in the public consciousness, sprouting memes, songs and music videos.

“You can see his butt.”

If that moment in the pop culture zeitgeist has passed you by, lawyer Vedika Chaubey said during a debate on NDTV explaining why she filed a police complaint against actor Ranveer Singh. Singh’s nude photo shoot had been published in Paper magazine the previous week, and Chaubey had none of it.

“How is that vulgar?” the anchor Nidhi Razdan asked him.

“Of course it’s vulgar!” Chabey replied, “You can see his butt! His video is with me. He is completely naked in this video.

A week later, Chaubey is sticking to his guns. Mumbai police registered an FIR on July 26 after Chaubey and an NGO, the Shyam Mangaram Foundation, filed complaints against Singh. The charges include indecent insult to a woman.

“We’re not staying in Germany or Poland where this kind of porn stuff or naked people roam,” Chaubey said. Newslaundry by telephone. “We are not used to these things. I have two daughters, a mother and a sister. If I can’t see those photos with them, what’s good for society? »

Chaubey said she first saw a photo of the shoot on Twitter, where she follows Singh, but didn’t take notice until the next day when her colleagues talked about it. She also accused NDTV to pursue an “agenda” against her (even though she returned to the channel a few days later for ). “They were waiting that when Vedika comes, we will jump,” she said. “They had a program.”

After her NDTV appearance, she said she was also trolled — but not threatened — on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and her blog.

But Chaubey herself has a background in the media. Before obtaining her law degree in 2019, she was a journalist for 12 years, starting her career in 2004. She worked for BBC and Midday, covering railways for the latter for about 10 years, and also freelancing for the Hindu.

His claim to fame is perhaps that in 2017, the Hindu she wrote about the victim of a stampede in Mumbai who was “molested” by a passerby. This later turned out to be wrong. Apologizing on Twitter, the newspaper referred to a “failure to respect journalistic standards”.

A journalist who was with the HinduThe Mumbai bureau at the time said it marked the end of Chaubey’s career with the newspaper, although Chaubey was not entirely to blame.

“It was one of those days when anything that could go wrong happened,” they said. “The reporter, the bureau, the editor didn’t double check… Except for the incident, there was never a problem with his work.”

Asked about the 2017 incident, Chaubey said she didn’t want to comment on it. She now works with her husband’s law firm, AVC & Associates, in Mumbai.

Her husband Akhilesh Chaubey is, according to his Facebook profile, “Secretary of Maharashtra BJP” and former Maharashtra General Secretary Navnirman Sena. He used to represent Raj Thackeray, defending him in cases where he was accused of anti-migrant speech and violence. , Akhilesh was the MNS’s “first candidate from North India” in the assembly poll.

Like her husband, Vedika Chaubey’s heart is now in the BJP.

“I am a BJP supporter from birth,” she said Newslaundry. “Kamal ke alava mujhe kuch dikhta hi nahi hain. I see nothing but the lotus [BJP’s party symbol]. It’s in my genes.”

But she made sure to remove references to the BJP after her ‘we can see her butt’ moment – including from her Twitter bio – because she “didn’t represent any party or agenda when I filed the complaint”, and she did not. want it to become a “bigger problem”.

As things stand, Chaubey is waiting for Ranveer Singh to apologize. (Singh has maintained a studied silence since the controversy began.) “It’s been over a week and he hasn’t come forward to apologize to the women and children who have a problem with his nude photo,” said she declared. “If he doesn’t apologize, I think he should be arrested.”

Since she became a lawyer to work for women, she added, she filed a complaint because her modesty was outraged. After all, if she didn’t, how could anyone else?

“The law gave me the right to do that,” she said. “If he wants to show his private parts, he should make a website and put it where people can subscribe to see it. He’s not a porn star, he’s an actor. I think he’s a respectable person and a good actor and human being. But he’s a superstar and he has an influence. Freedom of speech is to some degree. Whatever he does at home, I don’t I have no problem with it. But even if you stand at the window of your house and wave, I will have a problem with it.

Speaking about the “group of people” who liked Singh’s photos, Chaubey said, “I don’t know who these people are, but they’re going all over the internet and putting stupid things about him.”

Jon J. Epps