An FIR was registered against Amit Banerji, the CEO of TableSpace Technologies Private Limited, on March 21, 2020 at the Cubbon Park Police Station, under sections 354, and 354(A) (sexual harassment) of the Indian Penal Code by a former employee (FIR bearing Crime No. 41/2020 dated 21.03.2020), and the jurisdictional police have subsequently filed a charge sheet. As per the complaint, Amit allegedly behaved inappropriately with the complainant during a work trip to Hyderabad on September 10, 2019.
However, the company has denied the allegations against Amit and has accused the woman of extortion. An FIR was registered in the case dated March 18, 2020 under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 384 (extortion) of the IPC against the woman and an acquaintance of hers. TableSpace Technologies has accused the woman of threatening Amit with a sexual harassment case and outing him on social media after he reprimanded her on her work performance.
While a charge-sheet has been filed against Amit in the case in November last year, he has moved the High Court to have the sexual harassment charges against him quashed. The complainant woman has also moved to the court to quash the extortion complaint against her. Both these proceedings are pending before the High Court.
The sexual harassment case
TNM has accessed the womanâ€™s complaint, in which she has stated that Amit had allegedly passed inappropriate comments about her after a work meeting that they had in Hyderabad on September 10, 2019, and that he then forcefully kissed her on the lips. The complainant also states that later that night Amit allegedly spat his drink on the complainant.
The complainant has said that on September 20, 2019, Amit allegedly admitted his â€śmisdemeanourâ€ť in a letter, but that, the complainant was not satisfied with the â€śsuperfluousâ€ť apology and sent an email to company officials stating the same. The complainant alleges that on October 18, 2019, Amit allegedly sexually harassed the complainant again by forcefully kissing her and telling her, â€śI know that you like me.â€ť
The complainant also claims that that on December 12, 2019, when at an office event, Amit kissed her hands and told her he loved her, and that he allegedly groped and hugged her.
She states that on February 2020, she informed the HR of the company about the three incidents of sexual harassment. On March 10, 2020, she sent an email to a senior executive of TableSpace, formally asking for action to be taken against Amit. On March 18, she was allegedly informed that pending enquiry in the matter, she should not come to work, that her email ID was being deactivated and she should return her official laptop.
She then came to know of the complaint of extortion filed against her on March 18, 2020 by the company. Her sexual harassment complaint was lodged on March 20. On July 17, 2020, she allegedly received an email terminating her employment from the company.
The extortion case
TableSpace has alleged that the woman was hired in April 2019, and her CTC was increased substantially in September 2019. On the 18th of the same month, Amit allegedly reprimanded her for her â€śunsavoury behaviourâ€ť towards her colleagues and subordinates. The next day, he allegedly told another senior executive that he had shouted at the woman for her â€śrude conversationâ€ť.
While the woman has alleged that the written apology letter she received was for the sexual harassment allegedly meted out to her, TableSpace has contended that it was for Amit shouting at her, and that the letter had been accepted by her.
TableSpace has accused the woman of demanding an â€śenormous payoffâ€ť for being privy to information related to and meetings with potential investors, and threatening to level sexual harassment allegations if her demands were not met. The company has also stated that the two senior executives of the company met an acquaintance of the woman on March 4, 2020 in Bengaluru where he allegedly demanded a sum of Rs 3 crore to be paid to the woman, barring which she would complain of sexual harassment, which would lead to failed investment in TableSpace.
TableSpace has said it filed a police complaint in the regard on March 18, 2020 (Crime No. 40/2020), and that the womanâ€™s sexual harassment complaint is a counter to theirs.
Note: The facts quoted in this article are as per public records which are part of proceedings before various Courts. When TNM learnt of the complaint, it reached out to TableSpace for an official response. TableSpace never responded to the request, but instead issued a legal notice threatening legal action and then initiated legal proceedings (O.S. 1283 of 2021 before the Honâ€™ble City Civil Court, Bengaluru) against TNM and 56 others, including several news publications, as well as Google and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp in which it sought and was granted an interim injunction restraining the publishing or telecasting of â€śany kind of defamatory or character-assassinating or sarcastic references or comments/articles.â€ť
This story is being published based purely on the contents of proceedings and records which are in the public domain, and does not contain any views, opinions or comments of TNM, in compliance with the order of the Honâ€™ble Court.