Revealed: Top TN cop's desperate bid to stop woman officer from lodging sexual harassment plaint
The dramatic incidents at Paranur Tollgate on Monday came to light on Thursday, a day after the state government formed a panel to probe the charges and also removed Das from the post he was holding
CHENNAI: Senior police officer Rajesh Das allegedly misused his power and made his subordinates engage hundreds of police personnel to forcibly stop a young woman IPS officer at a toll gate on the outskirts of Chennai on Monday.
It is learnt that a few senior police officers tried to dissuade the woman officer from filing the sexual harassment complaint after she was stopped by the Chengalpattu district police and taken to a building near the toll gate.
Allegedly, the police officers, believed to be all male, had told the victim that Das wanted to discuss and settle the issue and she must speak to him. However, the woman officer remained firm and filed the complaint at the Secretariat in Chennai the same day.
The dramatic incidents that took place at Paranur Tollgate on Monday came to light on Thursday, a day after the state government formed a panel to probe the charges and also removed Das from the post he was holding as Special Director General of Police (Law and Order).
A witness to the incident told The New Indian Express that at around 2 pm when he was at the toll gate, he saw about a hundred police personnel trying to stop a vehicle ahead of the toll gate. "The driver escaped all of them and entered the toll gate via the free lane. But on the other side of the toll gate, about 150 police personnel surrounded and hit the vehicle several times. A few of them even fell before the vehicle to force it to stop," the witness said.
Soon, a young woman in civil dress got down from the vehicle and a few male police officers, who appeared to be seniors, literally forced her to get into a building on the sides of the toll gate. The witness said some of them were seen placing their hands on the shoulders of the woman and forcing her to get into the building against her consent.
The police personnel had quickly chased away members of the public who gathered out of curiosity. On the same day, The New Indian Express had learnt about this incident and contacted a few senior officers in the Chengalpattu district police. They then claimed it was relating to a "kidnap case".
On Thursday, when The New Indian Express contacted D Kannan, superintendent of Chengalpattu district police, he said that indeed the district police stopped the vehicle of the woman IPS officer at the toll gate. However, he said he was merely following the instructions of Das, who was his superior. He said he was told that the woman officer had disobeyed orders and left duty during the Chief Minister's trip, hence she must be stopped.
Kannan said, "I had no idea this was a personal issue. Ask her if I ever tried to broker a compromise on this issue. How can I know that there is a personal motive involved?" He said the police personnel were already deployed at the stretch as the Chief Minister's convoy was expected to pass through later in the day.
He said once they spotted the vehicle which his senior officers ordered him to stop, he merely followed the orders. He said he is willing to depose before the panel formed to probe the sexual harassment complaint against Das.
According to the complainant, Das had offered a ride in his vehicle since he and the young woman IPS officer were headed to the same districts as part of the Chief Minister's visit to the central districts. During the trip, she had submitted that he sexually misbehaved with her. Subsequently, the woman officer headed to Chennai to file the complaint on Monday and it was on her return that Das made his subordinates forcibly prevent her from entering the city.
Das, who was serving as the special Director General of Police (DGP), Law and Order, one of the key posts in the state police force, was put on compulsory wait by the state government on Wednesday.
When contacted by The New Indian Express, Das denied all the allegations and said, "I want the inquiry to be fair and fast and the truth to be out." The New Indian Express has reached out to state DGP JK Tripathy and is awaiting a response.
IPS officers association requests free and fair inquiry
The Tamil Nadu chapter of the IPS officers’ association has requested the inquiry committee to conduct a free, fair and expeditious inquiry into the issue.
The statement was signed on Thursday and issued by the Chennai city police commissioner Mahesh Kumar Aggarwal, who is also the secretary of the association. It stated that it has noted "with grave concern the complaint of sexual harassment by one of its lady officers against a senior officer".
The association said that it would stand in solidarity against any harassment at the workplace. "We request the enquiry committee constituted to do justice by a free, fair and expeditious enquiry," it said.