DCW chief molested near AIIMS, dragged 15m by car

Jan 20, 2023 12:26 AM IST

The Delhi Police said the 47-year-old man, Harish Chandra, has been arrested and charged with molestation and other offences

Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal on Thursday alleged that she was dragged for 10-15 metres by a car that was driven by a drunk man who made lewd gestures at her outside the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS).

Harish Chandra was nabbed soon after the incident. (HT Photo)
Harish Chandra was nabbed soon after the incident. (HT Photo)

The Delhi Police said the 47-year-old man, Harish Chandra, has been arrested and charged with molestation and other offences.

Maliwal said she stepped out on Wednesday night to assess how safe the city was for women, especially after the Kanjhawala incident in which a 20-year-old woman was dragged by a car for at least 14km, leading to her death. The DCW chief visited several places near Kanjhawala, Munirka, Mundka and Hauz Khas, inspecting the deployment of police and safety measures at bus stops. “I wanted to see what a woman standing alone at a bus stop has to face at night,” she said.

When she reached the area near AIIMS and was standing at a bus stop on the Ring Road opposite the hospital, a car approached her, Maliwal said. The man – driving a white Baleno – rolled down the car’s window and asked her to sit in the car, the DCW chief added.

The man left the spot but approached her again after a while, asking her again to sit in his car, she said.

“He started making lewd gestures at me. When I approached him to reprimand him, he again made a vulgar gesture. When I tried to catch hold of him, he rolled up the window and my hand got stuck. Knowing fully well, and extremely drunk, he still pushed the accelerator. I got dragged for several metres with the car. By god’s grace, I am alive,” she said, adding that the man stopped the car after members of her team intervened.

“While on the inspection, a man molested me and dragged me with his car. If the DCW chief isn’t safe in Delhi, one can imagine how unsafe Delhi is for women,” Maliwal said.

She said a call was made to the Delhi Police on 112 and a police team reached the spot in a few minutes. “The man was intercepted and arrested after some time. A complaint has been made to the Delhi Police in the matter,” she added.

Deputy commissioner of police (south) Chandan Chowdhary said a control room call was received at 3.11am. “The call was made by Garuda 1 – a special patrolling vehicle in south district – to the control room. The patrol vehicle had seen the woman on the pavement opposite AIIMS Gate Number 2 at 3.05am and had stopped to enquire whether she was in distress,” Chowdhary said.

Chowdhary said Maliwal was dragged for “10-15 meters”. He said that at 3.12am, the district’s control room broadcast the message about the offending vehicle and at 3.15am, the Hauz Khas police control room van informed the Kotla Mubarakpur police station. At 3.20am, the control room van reached the spot. “The offending vehicle was stopped and the driver was apprehended at 3.34am,” the DCP said, adding that a medical examination of the victim and the accused was conducted later.

Chowdhary said that a case under sections 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 509 (intending to insult the modesty of any woman) of the Indian Penal Code, and Section 185 of Motor Vehicle Act was registered and the accused, a resident of Sangam Vihar, was arrested.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal asked Lt Governor V K Saxena to leave politics aside and focus on the law and order situation in the Capital after the incident.

“What happened to the law and order situation in Delhi? The morale of the goons has increased so much that even the women’s commission chairperson is not safe. Only this work has been given to LG Sahib by the Constitution. LG Sahib is requested to leave politics for a few days and focus on law and order. We will fully cooperate with him,” Kejriwal said in a tweet in Hindi.

The LG’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

The National Commission for Women (NCW), meanwhile, took cognisance of the reports regarding the incident. Chairperson Rekha Sharma wrote to the commissioner of police to personally intervene in the matter and to ensure that strict action was taken against the accused.

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