Mangaluru

Government Leprosy Officer arrested

The city police on Saturday arrested Dakshina Kannada District Leprosy Officer Rathnakar on charges of sexually harassing some women staff working on contract basis in his office.

The Women Police on Friday registered the complaint by a woman activist against Dr. Rathnakar under Section 354 of IPC and questioned him.

Police Commissioner N. Shashi Kumar said on Saturday that Women Police took statements of three women employees who worked in his office. They told the police that the official took victims to places namely Kundapur, Murudeshwar, Madikeri and Periyapatna and sexually harassed them. In addition to to the three victims, the police on Saturday also took the statement of one of the member of the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) of the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Dakshina Kannada, that had inquired into allegation against Dr. Rathnakar.

Dr. Rathnakar was produced before the jurisdictional court, which allowed the police to keep him in their custody till Monday, Mr. Kumar said.

Following the order by the National Commission for Women a few days ago, Assistant Commissioner of Police (Central) P.A. Hegde inquired into an anonymous letter containing allegations against Dr. Rathnakar. Mr. Kumar said the victims then had refused to give statements against the official fearing loss of their job. In the report to the Commission, Mr. Hegde stated about the need to transfer the official out of the district for victims to make their statements freely.

Background

After the receipt of information by the Deputy Commissioner K.V. Rajendra, the ICC inquired and submitted its report on August 25. Principal Secretary to Health and Family Welfare Department, passed an order on November 8 to place Dr. Rathnakar under suspension and transfer him as Medical Officer of Community Health Centre, Gurmitkal of Yadgir district.

Dr. Rathnakar questioned the inquiry report before the single Judge bench of the Karnataka HC, which passed an order on November 18 to stay the report for 8 weeks. He later approached Karnataka State Administrative Tribunal that on November 24 stayed the suspension until further hearing on December 2.


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Printable version | Jan 28, 2022 7:48:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/government-leprosy-officer-arrested/article37731504.ece

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