A central government officer in Bangalore was arrested on Saturday for allegedly molesting a 27-year-old Italian woman after promising to help her get an exit permit.
The HSR Layout police arrested N Krishnan (54), who works at the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) in Shantinagar, for sexual harassment. The FRRO comes under the Ministry of Home Affairs, and regulates the stay, movement and departure of foreign nationals in India. It also has the powers to recommend extension of stay.
According to the complaint, Krishnan molested the Italian in his car on November 27. As the vehicle had a centralised locking system, she could not roll down the glass or escape.
“Everything happened in front of my little kid. The officer put his hand behind my shoulder and pushed my child out of my lap with the other hand. He then put his hand inside my shirt,” she told reporters.
She reportedly shouted at him to stop and jumped out of the vehicle.
The complainant said Krishnan took advantage of her financial distress.
She came to India on January 15 to join a company offering consultation for setting up cafeterias and bakeries.
She joined the company on February 1. The company ran into rough weather and could not pay her. She and the company agreed mutually to cancel her employment contract.
“As I had not worked long enough, I was short of money. According to my papers, I was to leave the country by April 15. But after I quit my job, I met with an accident and was not able to walk or even stand properly for two months,” she said.
She chose physiotherapy over surgery, as it was the cheaper option. She would have recovered faster if she had undergone surgery.
On November 7, she applied for an exit permit online. It was to take a week to 10 days. But nothing happened, the woman alleged.
“One day I got a call from FRRO asking me to go there with my tickets and collect the exit permit. However, when I went there, the papers were not ready. I lost my temper and was shouting over the phone to a friend,” she recalled.
Krishnan, who was standing nearby, heard her and said he would help her.
On November 27, the applicant called Krishnan to find out if the papers were ready. He asked her to meet him at HSR Layout.
“I went there by auto with my kid and he had come in his car. When he asked me to get in, I thought he was taking me to a cafe,” she said. Krishnan allegedly asked her in the car, “What do you want?” She said he already knew the status of her application. If things had to be done legally, Krishnan allegedly told her, she would have to shell out a penalty of `24,000 and a lawyer’s fee of `20,000.
“I knew the fine was `10,000 and the lawyer’s fee `2,000. I told him I only had `5,000, and requested him to help,” she explained.
At this juncture, Krishnan allegedly molested her, saying, “I just want this.” After she protested strongly, Krishnan told her to collect her papers the next day and went away. But again, nothing moved. He went to her house with a colleague some days later, and collected more details. But that did not get her the permit either. “My friends told me he was playing the fool and I should file a complaint,” she said.
Taking their advice, she lodged a complaint with the HSR Layout police station on December 4. Krishnan reportedly contacted her through a friend and asked her to take back the complaint. He assured her that her work would be done within a day if she did so.
“I refused and decided to fight my case. I want this officer punished,” she said.
City Police Commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar said Krishnan had been arrested on a sexual harassment charge.