No CCTV. No direct witness. It is a typical ‘He said, She said’ situation that has divided netizens into two groups. The first group supporting the delivery boy, the second group supporting the customer. So, what exactly happened that has caused such unrest on social media over the last few days?

It all started when a Bengaluru-based content creator on Wednesday alleged that she was punched by a delivery person from the food delivery company, Zomato. Hitesha Chandranee, who posted a video on social media, alleged that incident happened on Tuesday, following an argument over a delay in delivery. She claimed the delivery person barged into her house, verbally abused, and assaulted her resulting in a fracture to her nasal bone, and that she needs to undergo surgery.

Zomato replied shortly, “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 along with assistance on the medical care required. We can’t emphasize how sorry we are, rest assured we’ll take necessary actions to prevent such incidents from happening in the future.”

Police said the delivery executive presented a different version of the story. “According to him, he wanted to hand over the food and get on with another delivery. The woman demanded a refund, which was beyond his capacity. As she refused to accept the order, there was a verbal altercation. When she tried to hit him with her sandals, he pushed her in self-defense, which resulted in the injury,” said an electronic city police station official.

Now, TheNewsMinute spoke to the delivery executive involved in the incident. TheNewsMinute also reached out to speak to Hitesha to hear about her ordeal but she was not available. Kamaraj, who has been suspended by Zomato after Hitesha’s video went viral, refuted the allegations made by the woman that he barged into her house without provocation and assaulted her trying to take away her food parcel, and says that it was Hitesha who first verbally abused him, and then hit him with a chappal.

After I reached her apartment door, I handed her the food and I was expecting her to pay me (as she had opted for cash on delivery mode of payment). I also apologized since the delivery was delayed due to traffic and bad roads. But she was very rude from the outset. She asked me ‘Why are you late?’ I replied apologetically, as there were road blocks due to ongoing civic works and there were traffic jams as well.  But she kept on insisting that the order has to be delivered within 45-50 minutes. I am working on this job for more than two years and this is the first time that I have had to go through this kind of an ordeal.”

The accused Zomato delivery person: source

Kamaraj says that the customer, Hitesha, took the food — and then refused to pay for the order. She said she was talking with Zomato chat support. Fearing that he will lose money, he pleaded that she pay for the order and not complain to customer service about him, he says. However, Chandranee started speaking to Kamaraj rudely, he said. “I asked her not to speak to me rudely as I am a delivery boy and not a slave. To this, she got angry and said, ‘So what if you are a slave? What will you do? Wait there!'” recalled Kamaraj. According to him, Chandranee then refused to pay for the food. “I explained to her that there was a lot of traffic as some roads are under construction so she should try to understand why it got delayed and pay the amount for the food. However, ‘she reverted saying do whatever you want, I will not pay the cash.'” said Kamaraj.

Kamaraj then picked up the food package that was placed near the door. “She then pushed me and cursed me in Hindi. She hit me and also threw a slipper at me. I kept saying this is wrong, please do not do this.” he said. “When she was hitting me, I defended myself by pushing her hands away. She had a ring on her finger and this hit her nose. You can see the ring in the video she has posted on social media. Anybody who sees her face, will understand that this wouldn’t be created by a punch. And I don’t wear any rings.” he continued. After seeing Chandranee’s injury, Kamaraj left from there.

Kamaraj then received a call from the Zomato customer care asking him to leave the place. They had canceled the order and Kamaraj was asked to take the food back.

Narrating his ordeal, Kamaraj said, “I am so hurt by what happened. I have been working for 26 months with Zomato. I have made more than 5000 deliveries and have delivered food to women also. So many customers would give me water to drink, or tip me with Rs. 20-30. Some would even come down to take the order but I never imagined something like this would happen. I am telling the truth, I am here to work and not to attack anybody. If I punched her, she would have bled from her nostrils, that did not happen in this instance. Yes, I pushed her hand in defense and her hand hit her nose, this is the truth. But I never used any abusive words,” he explained.

As soon as the delivery boy’s version came out, Twitter was abuzz with people asking who is the actual victim in the case. People also shared both sides of the story with ‘men too’ posts. Moreover, some Twitter users also accused Hitesha of playing the ‘victim card’ and accused Zomato of not trusting their employee.

“Playing victim card with crocodile tears will not be considered as proof. Shame on you @zomato you guys don’t believe your own family member (delivery executive), before firing him you should have to check the facts. #Zomato #zomatodeliveryboy,” wrote one user.

There were others who did not pick any sides and said that both should be punished for what they did. The user wrote, “So what about her Who hit him first with slippers demanding for a free food. Who gave her rights to do that.There’s always a 2nd side of the story, please listen to that as well. Equality matters both should be Punished for their acts #zomatodeliveryboy.”

Another user also pointed out how nobody knows who is at fault in this situation and how it is so difficult to get justice even for small issues. The user wrote, “#zomatodeliveryboy instance is a proof that how easily people pass their verdict without even listening to both side of the story. Not sure who’s at fault here, but certainly shows why it’s hard in India to get justice for even smallest of issues.”

Amidst the storm on social media, the founder of the delivery company, Deepinder Goyal, issued a statement. In addition to the statement, he tweeted, “Right from the get-go, our topmost priority has been to get to the truth.” He said the company will follow the legal procedures and assist both sides – Ms Chandranee and Mr Kamaraj – till the probe is concluded.

“Also, for the record – Kamaraj has made (approximately) 5,000 deliveries for us so far, and has a 4.75/5 star rating on our platform (which is one of the highest), and has been working with us for 26 months now. (These are facts, not opinions, or inferences),” Mr Goyal tweeted.

The statement issued by the Zomato founder is very humane, balanced, and has doused a lot of the fires that had been raging on the internet. We hope the truth comes out very soon, and justice is served.

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