The report of the three-judge committee which probed allegations of sexual harassment against Justice (retd.) Asok Ganguly noted that the law intern told the panel that her three witnesses were scared of appearing in person and requested that they be allowed to send their statements as affidavits.
The report, accessed by The Hindu, notes that on November 18, when the intern first appeared before the panel — all her statements were video-recorded — she submitted an application for summoning six witnesses. The panel then directed three witnesses to appear before it on November 20 and three others on November 26 for recording their statements.
However, later in the day, the intern sent an email to the committee saying she was restricting the list of witnesses to three.
The next day, she sent another email stating that these three witnesses “are apprehensive and reluctant to appear in person before the committee. Please note that all of them are young professionals and are associated with law and the legal profession. They seek your permission to file their statement on record via affidavit in a sealed cover. As this committee is conducting a fact-finding enquiry and not a trial, the statement via affidavit may kindly be accepted.”
The panel accepted her request. The intern then sent another application for summoning of records: the hotel room booking register and guest accommodation for December 24, 2012; CCTV records of the hotel between 7.30 and 10.30 p.m.; records detailing which rooms were given complimentary wine bottles on December 24, 2012; and call and SMS records for the period December 20-25 from the mobile service provider.
The report, however, said: “In the light of the statements of the intern, affidavits of her three witnesses and the statement of Justice Ganguly, the committee feels that it is not necessary to summon the call and SMS record and the records from the hotel as requested by the intern,” basing its conclusion on the statements.
Rejecting Justice Ganguly’s technical defence, the committee said: “We do not propose to consider and deal with [his] submission, since the task assigned to the committee is to inquire into the facts and submit a report.”