The Goregaon (E) police has booked the vice-president of the finance department of a multinational bank in a case of sexual harassment. The 26-year-old victim is a chartered accountant who works in the same department as the accused. The victims ordeal began on December 18, 2009, when her firm shifted its location from Lower Parel to Goregaon (E).
Anand Giridhar, the accused, used to occupy a desk behind the victims . He has been working with the bank for a year. According to the victims complaint, Giridhar used to harass her mentally and physically.
Giridhar had a nasty habit of kicking my chair back and forth, despite my telling him not to as I ended up hitting my table, the victim said in her FIR. Once, while we were working on the same project, Giridhar offered to drop me home in his car after work. During the journey, he told me that his wife was against his going out with his girlfriend. He intended to give my phone number to his wife and wanted me to lie to her about his whereabouts, if she called up. Since that day, I stopped going out with him alone. He even sent me a text message , offering to take me out to Cafe Churchill at Colaba, but I did not respond.
Giridhar used to complain to the victim about his sour relations with his wife. I tried to offer consolation by saying that every couple had their share of fights. But, when we were working by ourselves in a cabin few days later, he brought up the same topic and said he wasnt satisfied with his wife. I realised what he was trying to imply and was too shocked to react, the victim stated in her FIR.
The victim has also alleged that Giridhar humiliated her in the office, calling her a dwarf and at times, used expletives when she was speaking to her family members on phone.
On January 27, Giridhar summoned her to a cabin and grabbed her hand, before allegedly molesting her. The victim ran out of the cabin and on reaching home, confided in her father about the incident. Her father called up Giridhar and asked him to stop misbehaving with her. But when she went to office the next day, Giridhar shouted at her for involving her father.
On February 1, the victim complained to her superiors in writing, narrating everything that had happened. But when the harassment did not stop, she lodged a case against Giridhar at the Goregaon (E) police station on February 3. The same evening, police officials picked up Giridhar from his office . He was produced before the Borivli metropolitan court on February 4 and was released on bail.
The victim underwent severe depression to the extent of planning suicide , said inspector Gunaji Sawant. Giridhar was booked on charges of molestation.
But Giridhars counsel said he was being framed. The woman is Giridhars subordinate at work and had lost out on a project. As a result, she started making allegations against him. Her FIR contains a lot more allegations than the complaint letter that she submitted to her superiors, said Shreyansh Mithare, Giridhars lawyer.
The bank is already conducting an inquiry against Giridhar.
Similar Cases in Recent Past
l In 2007, the NM Joshi Marg police registered a sexual harassment case against eight employees of a private firm based in Lower Parel for sending lewd and sexually explicit emails to their woman colleague. The complaint was filed by a 37-year-old former directorcum- chartered accountant working with the firm. Between July 16 and August 10, the police collected emails sent by four of accused, data from the firms mail server, hard disk, certified copies of written communication and two laptops. One of the laptops was the complainants and the other was the managers from whose system a few of the alleged lewd e-mails were sent. In 2008, the CBD police registered a case of sexual harassment against the chairman of a Marine Academy in Sector 11, Belapur. The complaint was filed by a 37-year-old woman who worked as a receptionist there. The victim summoned the courage to approach the cops only with the help of an NGO, India Centre for Human Rights and Law, which specialises in offences committed on women at workplaces. The victim said she had suffered not only physical harassment but also humiliation at the hands of the chairman.
WHAT THE LAW SAYS
Section 354 of the IPC is applied in cases of sexual harassment. Section 354 stands for molestation or assault/criminal force on a woman with the intention of outraging her modesty. It is bailable in nature. Punishment is imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or fine, or both.