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IIM Rohtak director booked for sexually harassing former assistant professor

Victim alleges the accused started harassing her mentally and sexually soon after she joined the institute in 2017

india Updated: Jun 01, 2018 12:53 IST
Hardik Anand
Hardik Anand
Hindustan Times, Rohtak
Prof Dheeraj Sharma(HT Photo)

The Rohtak police have booked Prof Dheeraj Sharma, the director of Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Rohtak, on charges of sexually harassing an ex-assistant professor of the institute.

The victim, who was terminated from her services on May 10, filed a complaint on Tuesday stating she was harassed by the director multiple times after she joined the institute in 2017.

In her complaint to the police, the woman said the director started harassing her mentally and sexually soon after she joined the institute, and also pressured her to get into an extra-marital affair with him. “He passed objectionable comments and vulgar taunts related to my private sex life with my husband. One day, he came in my cabin and molested me,” the FIR copy quotes the complainant as saying.

The woman then stated that she started avoiding being with the director alone, and only interacted with him when necessary in public. “This changed his behaviour and he started insulting me and inflicting mental stress on me whenever he got the slightest of opportunity,” she said.

Talking to Hindustan Times, the husband of the complainant said in March this year, they filed a complaint against the director to the board of governors, ministry of higher education and the PMO, but they were pressured to take back the complaint by the director.

“When we did not budge, the director terminated the services of my wife in May. Now, we do not have any other option than to pursue legal remedy. The entire incident has caused serious anxiety and stress to my wife,” he said.

Based on the complaint, the police have booked Prof Sharma under Sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman to outrage her modesty) and 354A (sexual harassment) of the Indian Penal Code at the women police station in Rohtak.

HT made several attempts to contact Prof Sharma through phone calls and text messages, but he did not respond.

In a statement released by the IIM, it said “The complainant was on probation and was terminated due to her poor performance and abusive conduct with other employees. She is doing this to defame the institute and the director. This is all an afterthought.”

Women police station SHO inspector Garima said they were investigating into the matter. “The director has not yet joined the investigations. But two of his men came to the police station to inform that they had terminated the services of complainant based on her poor performance. They said they had written to the authorities that she may come up with such charges on being terminated. But our investigations are on,” she said.

This is a second blow to the IIM director within a week. Earlier, two MPs had written to the human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar, alleging irregularities in Prof Sharma’s appointment based on an RTI query.

(The story has been updated)

First Published: May 30, 2018 20:42 IST