The Tamil Nadu Home Department on Wednesday set up a six-member inquiry committee to probe a complaint by a woman IPS officer of alleged sexual harassment by Special Director General of Police (law and order) Rajesh Das. Home secretary SK Prabakar issued the order that said that Additional Chief Secretary (planning and development) Jayashree Raghunandan will be the presiding officer of the committee.
According to sources, the woman officer has alleged that Rajesh Das behaved inappropriately with her in his vehicle. Another IPS officer told TNM on condition of anonymity that attempts were made by fellow officers to dissuade the woman from filing a complaint. "She however went ahead with it. Many lady officers have congratulated her for her courage," the source said.
Seema Agarwal, (Additional DGP), A Arun (IGP), Shamoondeswari (Deputy IG), VK Ramesh Babu (Chief Administrative officer at DGP office) and Loretta Jhona who is part of International Justice Mission will also be part of the committee.
This is not the first such accusation of sexual harassment against an IPS officer in Tamil Nadu. In August 2018, a Tamil Nadu woman Superintendent of Police accused S Murugan IPS, the then Joint Director in the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC), of sexually harassing her. An Internal Committee was formed under the leadership of Lakshmi Prasad, a DGP-level officer. Later, she was forced to approach the Madras High Court where she alleged that the chairman of the committee and others were favouring the perpetrator. The Madras High Court, in a highly unusual move, transferred the investigation to Telangana police.
A month later in September 2019 however, the Supreme Court stayed this order.
On Wednesday morning, DMK leader Kanimozhi had tweeted about the case and alleged that the government was dragging its feet and not acting on the officer's complaint. The announcement of the probe panel came a few hours after that.
The protector also needs protection during ADMK rule. When a woman IPS officer is sexually harassed by a higher ranked officer and the CM takes no notice of it, what hope do 'ordinary' women have in this regime?â€” Kanimozhi (à®•à®©à®¿à®®à¯Šà®´à®¿) (@KanimozhiDMK) February 24, 2021