The Madras High Court has mooted the transfer of a case against an IG-rank officer who is facing allegations of sexual harassment from a woman SP in Tamil Nadu to any court in a neighboring state or to Delhi. A Bench of Justices Vineet Kothari and CV Karthikeyan passed directions on Tuesday, stating that the Advocate General 'shall take instructions from the State Government for transferring all the proceedings in the present case under the provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, as well as investigation in F.I.R.No.2 of 2018 from the State of Tamil Nadu to any neighbouring State or to Delhi.'
This effectively means that the case could be shifted to another jurisdiction in a neighbouring state or Delhi and tried. Sources close to the development say that the court issued the order after it was displeased with the way the investigation had been handled. The investigating agencies had reportedly not complied with Justice SM Subramaniam's directions in February this year to reconstitute the IC (Internal Committee or Sexual Harassment Committee) and carry out a fair investigation.
In August last year, a woman Superintendent of Police filed a complaint against the Joint Director of the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC), alleging sexual harassment. The complaint against Murugan IPS came to light when the State Police Department hurriedly constituted an IC as under the provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013. Shortly after filing her complaint with the police department, the woman SP moved the Madras High Court seeking a reconstitution of the IC in compliance with the law. She had also sought criminal action against Murugan and wanted him transferred from his post in the DVAC as she feared his continuation there 'would cause prejudice and there is a likelihood of force and influence made in the enquiry.'
The Tamil Nadu Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID) registered an FIR against him in September, booking him under Indian Penal Code Sections 341 (Punishment for wrongful restraint), 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), and 509 (Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) read with Section 4 of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 1998.
In June this year, Murugan was transferred to the Economic Offences Wing.