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IMD scientist withdraws caste complaint against cook after public backlash

Neighbours and IMD colleagues say the scientist is ‘quarrelsome’ and has a tendency to lodge police complaints.

pune Updated: Sep 09, 2017 23:45 IST
Yogesh Joshi and Jui Dharwadkar
Yogesh Joshi and Jui Dharwadkar
Hindustan Times, Pune
IMD scientist,Police complaint,Impersonation
The scientist at the India Meteorological Department in Pune had come under fire for filing a case of impersonation against her cook. (HT PHOTO)

Under fire for filing a police complaint against a cook for allegedly lying about belonging to the Brahmin caste when seeking a job at her home, India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) deputy director Medha Khole on Saturday withdrew her complaint.

Khole reached Sinhagad police station on Saturday and submitted an application seeking to withdraw her complaint, senior police officials said. The complaint had sparked public outrage.

“My complaint was related to cheating. However, if I have hurt anyone’s feelings, I apologise and withdraw my complaint,” she said in her application. Assistant Commissioner of Police Shivaji Pawar said her application will now be submitted to the court to formally withdraw the case. Despite repeated attempts, Khole could not be reached for her comments.

On September 6, the IMD scientist had registered a case of impersonation against her cook Nirmala Yadav (60) for allegedly hiding her caste and status as a divorcee, and posing as a Brahmin to get the job of a cook. Khole was incensed that the cook was not a Brahmin as she only employed people of that caste for cooking food during religious ceremonies.

HT has learnt that Khole has been on leave for more than a year without intimation and that her salary has been withheld. “We will wait for some more time and then decide on the action to be taken,” an official said, requesting anonymity.

Read more: Pune scientist who filed complaint against cook for not being Brahmin draws ire

When asked for Khole’s precise period of leave from duty, AK Srivastava, head of IMD’s Climate Monitoring and Analysis Group said he was not sure of the extent of leave as he himself was posted outside Pune for a brief period.

IMD colleagues and neighbours at her Sita Park Cooperative Housing Society described her as “quarrelsome” with a penchant for taking people to the police station on petty issues. “On various occasions in the past, Khole had blocked work in the society. She has also gone to the police station at least 15 to 20 times against us for various reasons,” said Sudhir Suryawanshi, a neighbour.

In her latest police complaint, Khole said she needed a married Brahmin woman to cook food at her house for religious occasions. Yadav approached Khole in 2016 while allegedly introducing herself as Nirmala Kulkarni (a Brahmin), a senior police official had said.

When Khole confronted the cook after discovering on September 6 that Yadav was not Brahmin, the latter abused and assaulted her, according to FIR. Khole complained that cook’s “lie” hurt her, her “religious sentiments.”

Based on the complaint, Sinhgad police booked Yadav under Sections 419 (cheating by impersonation), 352 (punishment for assault or criminal force) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) of the Indian Penal Code.

Later, Yadav too filed a complaint against Khole.

First Published: Sep 09, 2017 23:27 IST