Probe into sexual harassment complaint against IG begins

By Naomi N Published on Aug 23, 2018 02:21 PM IST

Officials arriving at State Crime Records Bureau office at Foreshore Estate, where inquiry commenced today.

Chennai: The newly-reconstituted Vishaka Committee of the State police department today met here for the first time and began a formal inquiry into the sexual harassment complaint filed by a woman officer in the rank of Superintendent of Police (SP) against an Inspector General (IG).

The first round of inquiry, headed by Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Seema Agarwal began this morning at the State Crime Records Bureau (SCRB) office in Foreshore Estate.

A source told News Today that during the first round of inquiry, the complainant and accused were not present. Only the committee members gathered to look into the allegation and raised serious questions about it, it is learnt.

The case was probed as per the provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, sources added.

As directed by the Director General of police (DGP) T K Rajendran, the nominated senior IPS officers - Seema Agarwal and ADGP S Arunachalam apart from Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Thenmozhi conducted a detailed probe into the allegations.

Retired Additional Superintendent of Police Saraswathi and an administrative officer in the DGP office, Ramesh, were also part of the proceedings.

The woman SP, in her written complaint, alleged that she has been subjected to harassment for the past seven months by the senior police official.

The male officer, who has five more years to retire, is said to have called her over phone in the wee hours and even attempted to hug her on several occasions. Her requests for transfer to a different wing were repeatedly ignored. Another allegation she made was that the IG watched porn in her presence despite her objection.

The harassment began when she rejected his advances. The woman officer alleged that the IG threatened to make unfavourable entries in her annual confidential report, it is claimed.

Though there was already a separate committee at the DGP office, led by an Inspector General of Police to look into sexual allegations, a new committee was formed since the complaint was from a senior official in the department.

According to the guidelines of the Vishaka Committee, if, prima facie, the case reported against a suspect appears true, the internal committee would recommend the department to initiate criminal proceedings.

WHO IS SEEMA?

ADGP, State Crime Records Bureau, Seema Agarwal, who heads the inquiry committee, is the wife of Greater Chennai Police Commissioner A K Viswanathan.