The CB-CID of the TN police is probing the sexual harassment charges against the former Special DGP, who allegedly behaved inappropriately with a woman IPS officer in his vehicle.

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news Sexual harassment Tuesday, March 02, 2021 - 16:52

“After some time, he lifted my hand and kissed the back of my hand at which point, I took my hand away and told him I was not comfortable. He smiled and let go of my hand. After a few minutes, he again extended his hand and asked for mine to which I replied again that I was not feeling comfortable and that this was not appropriate. He said, “only five minutes”, and took my hand again.”

These are the details from the complaint of a woman IPS officer against a former Special DGP in Tamil Nadu. Allegations of sexual harassment against the former high-ranking police official have shocked Tamil Nadu after they came to light a few days ago, with even the Madras High Court taking suo moto cognizance. The Crime Branch of CB-CID in Tamil Nadu has registered a FIR in the case. TNM has accessed the complaint which reveals how he allegedly held the complainant’s hand multiple times, and kissed it, despite her expressing her discomfort explicitly.

The complaint details the incident that took place in Karur on February 21, 2021. She recounts that she was on bandobast duty when the former Special DGP asked her to accompany him after the Chief Minister's programme at LightHouse Corner to see the next meeting place, and that he would drop her at Perambalur and leave for Ulundurpet where the Chief Minister’s programme was to happen the next day.

The duo left LightHouse Corner in the DGP’s vehicle that evening after the CM’s programme concluded at about 6.30 pm, and made a couple of more stops where the CM’s programmes were scheduled next. They were on their way to Ulundurpet at around 7.40 pm. After that, the complainant’s alleged ordeal started.

‘He kissed my hand’

According to the complaint, the accused allegedly asked that she sing a song, which she did, despite her hesitation as he kept insisting. After that, he asked to hold her hand, which she extended, thinking it was a gesture to appreciate her singing. However, his "hold" was different, and he ultimately ended up holding her hand on the armrest of the car. 

After this, the accused sat with his eyes closed for around 20 minutes, and eventually asked the driver to lift the rear-view mirror to the top, the complaint says.

The woman has alleged that the senior officer then kissed the back of her hand. Though she took her hand back, he again held it despite her expressing her discomfort explicitly.

The accused senior official also gave the woman officer a towel to wipe her hands, which had gotten sweaty “due to anxiety and tension.” He then allegedly showed her a photo of hers “he had clicked on a previous occasion” and said that “he had saved it in his favourites so that he could access it easily.” 

The accused allegedly even asked for the complainant’s hand another time. “Again I refused, but he insisted and took it.”

Finally, at Ulundurpet, he let go of the complainant’s hand on seeing other police officials waiting for them. She also shifted to another official’s vehicle at E Kottai, and left for Perambalur.

‘10-15 police officials stopped my car to prevent me from complaining’

TNM had reported earlier that several attempts were made to stop the IPS official from filing a sexual harassment complaint against the former DGP. In her complaint, she has written that on February 22, 2021, she was going to Chennai to give her complaint to the DGP-Head of State’s Police Force (HoPF) around 11 am. The accused allegedly kept on calling her, which the complainant did not answer. 

The complaint also says that the DGP called three other officers and asked them to dissuade her, and told them that she was ‘annoyed with him’. 

Further, the complainant’s car was allegedly stopped by 10-15 police officials in Chengalpattu, led by the Chengalpattu SP D Kannan, Rural Inspector Suresh and Sub-Inspector Manikandan. They allegedly blocked her car, threatened her PSO (personal security officer) and driver. "The inspector took out the car keys and I was sitting inside the car alone feeling threatened for my life. The Striking Force vehicle was stationed before my official car to stop me from proceeding forward,” the complaint says.

The Chengalpattu SP allegedly told the woman that it was the former Special DGP who had asked him to block her car, and later told her that the former Special DGP was on the phone line and wanted to speak to the complainant.

While the complainant refused to speak on the phone to the accused, the SP allegedly said that she won’t be allowed to leave till she speaks to him. “I took the cell phone from him and the Special DGP was on the other side. […] the first thing he said was, ‘I will fall at your feet and apologise for my actions.’”

Alarmingly, the accused former DGP allegedly told the complainant that the call was being recorded by the Intelligence Branch. He then told her that he was just a well wisher.

The woman has alleged that he kept repeating himself, insisting that she speak with one of the SPs. While she refused and asked to be let go, upon his insistence, she then agreed to speak to the Tiruppur SP.

Ultimately, she met with the DGP HoPF, and the Home Secretary of Tamil Nadu with her complaint and was assured of necessary action.

‘Misuse of power and authority’ by the accused

This wasn’t all. On the way back to Perambalur, the complainant allegedly received a call from her husband who informed her that someone had spoken to her father-in-law on the accused senior official’s behalf asking for “compromise and conciliation,” and that he was ready to "fall at her feet" and apologise.

While her father-in-law disconnected the call, the complainant has said that this makes it clear that her harasser is misusing his power and authority, and has further accused him of using “official police machinery, even involving Chengalpattu SP and actual police force to stop me from going to Chennai to register my complaint.”

She has added, “He misrepresented to other district SPs regarding the issue and asked them to talk to me on his behalf. He went to the extent of intimidating my family members to intimidate me to withdraw my complaint. This is misuse of authority at its maximum to criminally intimidate an officer.”

The complainant has said that this ordeal has also caused her mental agony and loss of peace of mind for her and her family.

While an FIR has been registered against the Chengalpattu SP for obstruction of justice, the former special DGP has been booked under sections 354A (sexual harassment), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint) and 506(1) (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code, and section 4 of the TN Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 2002.

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