A Prasar Bharati probe panel has found two senior Doordarshan officials guilty of sexually harassing a junior employee at its Bhopal centre and recommended her reinstatement in a higher post after she was sacked allegedly for resisting their advances.
The woman had accused the centre’s assistant director and head of programme department SN Singh and production executive Ashish Khare of repeatedly seeking sexual favours from her before she was sacked in April this year, a month after she moved the Prasar Bharati’s internal committee. While Khare refused to comment, Singh refuted the allegations as “a simple case of blackmailing by the complainant and favouritism by the inquiry officer”.
The 42-year-old Doordarshan employee had lodged a complaint on March 3, 2015, and was terminated from service on April 7 along with 12 of her colleagues who had refused to give statement against her.
The probe panel submitted its report to the Prasar Bharati headquarters in Delhi on July 26, also recommending that the two officials be immediately transferred from the Bhopal centre and “never assigned a position calling for an independent exercise of control”. Hindustan Times has a copy of the report.
The complainant, however, is yet to approach police. She said it was easier for her to lodge a complaint with the internal committee than going to police.
The woman, who was working as a resource person with DD for ten years, said in her complaint that Singh allegedly used to call her “to his chamber unnecessarily and would try to intercept me in corridors, come to my seat, whenever I was alone.”
She added that Singh had also “suggested that it will be beneficial for both if we fulfilled each other’s needs” and also threatened to sack her if she did not oblige.
Later when she narrated the incident to Khare, he allegedly caught hold of her hand and “asked what is wrong in Singh’s proposal. It is simple if you take care of us, we shall take care of you.”
She said that despite the panel’s findings supporting her case and her writing to many people including the Prime Minister, justice had eluded her.
“The case was very much genuine and all the members of the committee recommended immediate transfer of both the officials”, said Rita Tuli, senior counsellor and external member of the internal complaints committee.
The chairperson of the committee Navneet Kaur refused to answer queries from HT saying “this is a confidential matter and I am unauthorised to comment on it.”
In reply to a text message from HT, one of the accused SN Singh said: “This is a simple case of blackmailing by the complainant and favoritism by the inquiry officer, which will be undoubtedly proved in due course of time. On my appeal, directorate is going to re-inquire this case very soon.”