Body contact allegation: PU reply says complainant chose to sit with V-C Grover

  • Bhartesh Singh Thakur, None, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Jul 12, 2015 09:28 IST

Panjab University (PU) has told ministry of human resource development (MHRD) and Chandigarh Police that it was the woman professor (complainant) who chose to sit beside vice-chancellor (V-C) Prof Arun Kumar Grover on March 31, 2013, during a cultural function at one of the hostels. The woman professor had alleged before the police and a committee constituted by UGC that Prof Grover made a "body contact" with her by taking a seat between her and his wife, when there were other seats available.

Defending the V-C, a PU report forwarded by registrar Col GS Chadha (retd) to MHRD and Chandigarh SSP on July 3, said, "…But the truth is contrary to that, as the attached photographs clearly show that it was the complainant (name being withheld) who shifted her original seat and chose to sit with Prof Grover and Mrs Grover.

Attached photograph no's 68 to 70 show the woman professor (complainant) sitting with two other ladies on a sofa meant for chief guest (the complainant was the chief guest). The photograph no. 68 clearly shows that on adjoining sofa one girl is sitting and two other seats were vacant. The vice-chancellor along with his wife arrives in photograph no. 308, when some prize distribution is going on and is greeted by the warden and the complainant…After that, the function continues while they decide to sit on sofas. It is clear that the complainant chose to sit with Prof Grover and Mrs Grover and had not gone back to her original seat as the same was occupied by that time. It is also clear from photograph no. 389 that no other seat was available at that time as has been alleged by the complainant in her complaint."

The PU report regarding the function of March 31, 2013, is signed by Prof Navdeep Goyal, dean students welfare (DSW), and Dr Navjot, warden, Girls Hostel No. 2.

PUCASH findings

When the woman professor complained about winking by the V-C and also that he misbehaved with her on April 15 when she went to his office to congratulate him on his extension by three years, the VC had forwarded her complaint to Panjab University Committee Against Sexual Harassment (PUCASH) headed by prof Nishtha Jaswal.

The PUCASH in its report dated June 26, which has also been submitted before the MHRD and Chandigarh Police, says, "…It is crystal clear from the letter of the complainant that she does not consider the PUCASH as an 'independent competent authority' and she is further of the view that 'it is under the domain and control of respondent' with regard to her case and thus she does not want this panel (PUCASH) to consider the case. Since the complainant herself does not want her complaint to be considered by the panel, it would be useless to proceed further with the complaint."

The PUCASH then returned the complaint to the registrar.

What do the SMSes' say

A list of SMSes exchanged between the complainant and the vice-chancellor is the part of the report submitted to the MHRD and the police. As per the complaint, on March 31, 2013, the V-C allegedly made physical contact with her during a cultural function on campus. On April 21, 2013, the complainant had sent a text message to the V-C regarding arrangements for an event. Both continued to exchange messages related to official work and after that too and even greeted each other on new year eve in 2013 and 2014.

As per her complaint, the V-C winked at her during a syndicate meeting held on March 8, 2015, but on April 14, she congratulated the V-C when the latter got an extension. In response, the V-C thanked her. There is no exchange between the two after April 14. She filed the first complaint on April 15.

"It is disgraceful, shameful and unbecoming of a member of the senate and syndicate, who is a senior professor, to make such allegations," said PU V-C Prof Arun Kumar Grover. He had submitted his reply to a UGC committee looking into the complaint on July 6 and attached the pictures, transcripts of the SMSes and findings of PUCASH and also of a committee headed by Prof Ronki Ram, which gave him the clean chit.

When contacted, the complainant said that Panjab University administration was working like an alter ego of the vice-chancellor to save his skin.

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