KASARAGOD: The Department of Survey and Land Records transferred a senior officer accused of sexually harassing his colleague to Thiruvananthapuram without taking any action against him. The officer is a leader of Gazetted Officers’ Union, a Left-leaning trade union.
K V Thamban, a technical assistant in the Assistant Director Office (Resurvey), was transferred to the Central Survey Office in the capital nearly four months after his junior colleague filed a complaint mentioning his alleged advances and inappropriate behaviour.
In an order, director of the Survey and Land Records Department Seeram Sambasiva Rao said Thamban has been transferred based on the complaint of a junior superintendent and the findings of the Anti-harassment Committee in the office.
She had initially filed a complaint with the collector when the gazetted officer allegedly screamed at her and tried to throw a file at her for a clerical mistake by another officer. There was no action and the district administration asked her to file another complaint to the director as only he could take action against him.
In her complaint to the director on July 22, the junior superintendent said she was being harassed by Thamban by sometimes getting uncomfortably close to her. She also said she could not work with him. Collector Bhandari Swagat Ranveerchand transferred the junior superintendent to her office but in the same building. The anti-harassment committee was also asked to enquire into the allegations.
In the new office, several persons tried to guilt-trip her for filing a complaint against Thamban. The committee conducted two hearings. Sources said the complainant wrote to the Revenue Minister as there was no action after the first hearing. In October, the committee held another hearing virtually in which the enquiry officer, a woman deputy director, allowed the defendant to be present. In the meeting, the complainant burst into tears after she was asked rude and uncomfortable questions by the deputy director. At one point, the deputy director even asked her to shut up.
Thamban’s transfer comes when the complainant was planning to write to the chief minister about the second hearing. Sources close to her said they were not happy with the transfer. “Going by the director’s transfer order, Thamban was transferred based on the preliminary report of the ICC. If the ICC had found Thamban guilty of sexual harassment, the Visakha Case guidelines say the complaint should be forwarded to the police station. It becomes a criminal case. A transfer is not a punishment,” a source said.