Immigration official at Delhi airport suspended for sexually harassing Bengaluru woman

  • HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times, New Delhi/ Bengaluru
  • Updated: Mar 28, 2015 02:15 IST

The home ministry suspended an immigration officer at Delhi’s international airport on Friday after a woman accused him of harassing her during immigration check while she was en route to Hong Kong from Delhi on March 18.

The suspension came after the woman went to the media with her story as a complaint she emailed to the officer’s superiors on March 23 went unaddressed.

While reviewing her passport, the officer, Vinod Kumar, allegedly asked the woman several inappropriate questions, including if she slept with other men when her husband was at work and if she wanted to have her third child with him.

He proceeded to follow her up an escalator at the airport, the woman told reporters in Bengaluru on Friday.

After giving her pursuer the slip, the woman caught her flight but returned on March 23 with her husband and attempted to file a written complaint with Kumar’s senior at the Bureau of Immigration in Delhi.

The senior officer was uncooperative and refused to accept the complaint. He asked her to send him an email instead. Kumar also emerged on the scene and a verbal spat ensued. The woman emailed her complaint the same day. She said she waited until recently for authorities to take action, but when that did not happen, she approached the media.

The Union home ministry has suspended Kumar on charges of sexually harassing and stalking the woman.

“Immigration assistant Vinod Kumar has been placed under suspension and a departmental inquiry has been ordered against him,” said a home ministry spokesperson.

According to home ministry officials, the complainant has also been asked to lodge an FIR against the accused.

NCW condemns incident

The National Commission for Women (NCW) chief condemned the incident and apologised on behalf of Indian government.

"First I would like to apologise (to her) on behalf of Indian government, though I am just a part of it, a small cog in the very big wheel. But the entire incident which has happened is shameful and the officer should be suspended," NCW chairperson Lalitha Kumaramangalam said.

"How could he ask such questions when there is a format in place. This immigration officer must be taken to task. He should be suspended," she added.

The Commission also took suo motu cognizance of the matter and Kumaramangalam said she would write to revenue officials in Bengaluru and the immigration authorities recommending action against the officer.

(With inputs fom PTI)

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