PUNE: The Pune police on Wednesday arrested a top official of a company with a city-based industrial group after a woman employee levelled allegations of stalking and sexual harassment against him. The police immediately released him on bail as he was unwell and also because it’s a bailable offence.
The FIR based on the 34-year-old woman’s complaint was registered on Tuesday night after she approached the police. A woman police officer recorded her statement.
In her complaint, the woman alleged that the 58-year-old official, who is the managing director (MD) of the company, had been stalking her and texting her messages with sexual overtones ever since she joined the firm late last year. She said she had complained to the company’s panel which looks into complaints of sexual harassment. She said the company then offered her a transfer to some other department.
The woman told TOI at the police station, “Before approaching a senior police officer here, I had filed a complaint application at the police commissioner’s office demanding action against the MD on February 23. I also sent e-mails to my superiors and the company’s panel which looks at sexual harassment cases but no action has been taken against the MD. The HR department has assured me that action would be taken on my complaint as per procedure. They have requested me to seek a transfer but I refused.”
“I have stopped going to work since February 15 and have been given time to reconsider my decision of not seeking a transfer. I have no issues with the company. I want action against the MD. I have given the police details of my e-mail complaint to the company, voice messages, text messages and recorded conversations, among other evidence,” she added.
TOI has withheld the name of the company and that of its official to protect the identity of the complainant.
When TOI spoke to the MD over the phone, he denied knowing anything about the case. “I am not aware of any case having been registered. I don’t want to offer comments,” he said.
In response to an e-mail query sent before news of the arrest, the company’s spokesperson said, “We are not aware about any case filed with the police, as mentioned in your e-mail. A complaint about sexual harassment was made by one of the employees. This complaint is being currently enquired by an Internal Committee constituted under Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013. Since the matter is being investigated by the Internal Committee under the said Act, it is inappropriate to comment on the subject issue.”
Senior police inspector Anil Patrudkar told TOI, “The woman furnished certain evidence and seemed fairly convincing in her replies to our questions. She also narrated specific messages suggesting sexual overtones, that the senior official allegedly texted her.”
Patrudkar said, “The woman came to Pune along with her husband for work. She said she shared the text messages with her sister and husband before approaching us. We have registered the complaint under sections 354-A (sexual harassment) and 354-D (stalking) of the IPC.”