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Friday, Nov 22, 2019

Customs lodges complaint against officer for harassing Uzbek woman

While the woman from Turkmenistan landed at around 1.30am, the Uzbek landed at around 7.30am.

india Updated: Oct 07, 2019 05:50 IST
Anvit Srivastava
Anvit Srivastava
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Customs officials who had seen surveillance footage of the incident suspended him on May 4 and initiated a departmental inquiry.
Customs officials who had seen surveillance footage of the incident suspended him on May 4 and initiated a departmental inquiry.(HT image)
         

The customs department last week submitted a complaint to the Delhi Police against one of its own officers for allegedly sexually harassing an Uzbek passenger at the Delhi airport.

The suspect in the case, a customs superintendent at the Delhi international airport, was earlier suspended following allegations of misconduct against the woman and another who arrived from Turkemenistan, both travelling separately, on May 3 this year. He had allegedly taken the passengers, separately, to his office without the presence of women officers, which is against the rules.

While the woman from Turkmenistan landed at around 1.30am, the Uzbek landed at around 7.30am.

Customs officials who had seen surveillance footage of the incident suspended him on May 4 and initiated a departmental inquiry. When the managed to contact the woman who landed from Turkmenistan, she confirmed being in the room for 40 minutes in the absence of any woman officer. She added that she was later allowed to leave with the gold chain but neither confirmed nor denied the allegation of sexual assault.

When the department managed to contact the Uzbek woman, who had by then left the country, she submitted a complaint against him following which the matter was referred to the internal complaints committee (ICC). A few weeks later, however, she retracted her statement.

The ICC submitted its final report on August 19.

Based on its findings, the customs commissioner had requested an FIR be lodged based on the “evidence and materials on record that indicate sexual harassment”.

HT has a copy of the customs department’s complaint.

“...it was found that the retraction (of the Uzbek woman) was not true and voluntary and that the superintendent was forcefully managing/controlling the actions of the victims,” the customs complaint to the police read.

It mentioned that the evidence and materials on record indicate that the alleged incident of sexual harassment of the victim “indeed occurred.”

“On the basis of recommendations of the ICC, commissioner customs has directed that the matter be referred to Delhi police for lodging an FIR against the superintendent for sexual harassment of a woman who was in his custody at the time and for pressurizing the victim to retract the statement made against him,” the complaint says.

Confirming that they received the customs department’s complaint, deputy commissioner of police (Delhi airport) Sanjay Bhatia said they will take legal action.

When contacted, commissioner (Customs, Delhi airport) Manish Kumar said he did not wish to comment over the matter. The suspect in the case could not be reached for comment.