Tamil Nadu

‘Act against those who tried to prevent woman officer from filing complaint’

A day after Special DGP Rajesh Das was put on compulsory wait following a complaint of sexual harassment from a woman IPS officer, a group of IPS officers said on Thursday that Chengalpattu Superintendent of Police D. Kannan had prevented and criminally intimidated her while she was going to the headquarters.

On Wednesday, the government also constituted a committee under IAS officer Jayashree Raghunandan to probe the allegation.

‘Vehicle intercepted’

One of the IPS officers said, “When the victim wanted to complain to the head of the police force and the Home Secretary, a District Superintendent of Police, at the direction of Mr. Rajesh Das, his superior officer, intercepted her vehicle and stopped it, with the striking force in tow, and forced her to talk to her abuser. Is this the way a DSP acts? He can do or would have done many things in favour of the accused. What action will be taken against this person?”

Sources said the woman officer, of the rank of SP, was proceeding to Chennai to lodge a complaint with the Home Secretary against Mr. Rajesh Das.

At a toll plaza, Mr. Kannan intercepted her official vehicle with his striking force. Further, the sources said, he directed striking force personnel to remove the keys of her car.

He then told the woman officer that she should not file a complaint against Mr. Rajesh Das. When she refused, Mr. Kannan insisted that she talk to Mr. Rajesh Das on the phone before proceeding further.

At that point, according to police sources, she warned Mr. Kannan that she would record this incident, too, as he attempted to threaten her on behalf of Mr. Rajesh Das. Then, he handed over the vehicle key and withdrew.

Mr. Rajesh Das had also reportedly asked the Superintendents of Police of Kallakurichi and Villupuram districts to stop her while she was proceeding to Chennai. But the sources clarified that both officers refused to obey this instruction.

The IPS officers said the committee, which was formed to go into the complaint, should also probe the role of Mr. Kannan. “If we are going to be silent about such atrocious behaviour of men in khaki, every one will suffer. Service and institutions don’t end with our career or in our lifetime. Our future generations should have a safe, secure and protected environment,” another officer said.

Another officer added, “The victim has displayed dignity and exemplary courage, and the more we get to know about the horror she endured the more disgusted we are. Everyone who aided and abetted this must be exposed and punished.”

The IPS officers also appealed to the Tamil Nadu IPS Officers Association to recommend the suspension of Mr. Kannan.

In a statement, the association said it “stands in solidarity against any harassment at workplace. We request the inquiry committee to do justice by a free, fair and expeditious inquiry with sensitivity involved.”

DSP denies charge

Responding to the allegation, Mr. Kannan told The Hindu that the district police had indeed stopped the vehicle of the woman officer at a toll plaza. “You should also ask her what had happened. In what way am I connected with her? My boss called me up and said she was on the way and issued instructions to stop her vehicle and hand my phone over to her. I did as I was asked to and merely told her that sir [Mr. Rajesh Das] wanted to speak to her. She sat in the car and talked to him on the phone. How do I know that there was bad blood between them?”

He also denied that he had removed the key from her vehicle. “What was the necessity for me to remove the key? She is an SP-level officer. Ask her if I came near her or talked to her beyond what I told you. I was not aware of the real issue between them. My only mistake was that I obeyed the orders of my officer.”

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 12:08:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/act-against-those-who-tried-to-prevent-woman-officer-from-filing-complaint/article33936787.ece

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