St Stephen's molestation row: HRD minister Smriti Irani refuses to intervene

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New Delhi, Jul 3: Amidst allegations of its principal trying to protect the accused, HRD ministry on Friday refused to intervene in the molestation row at St Stephen's College, saying such issues are to be handled by the institution's Internal Complaints Committee as per Supreme Court guidelines.

Ministry officials, however, said that the college has been asked to "expedite its probe to ensure justice is done".

smriti

"As per the Supreme Court's guidelines, every institution is supposed to have an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) to deal with complaints of sexual harassment. The issue at St Stephen's has to be handled by the committee," officials in the HRD ministry said.

A research scholar at St Stephen's had approached police on June 19 alleging that she was molested by Satish Kumar, a professor in the college's Chemistry department. The complainant has also accused Stephen's principal Valson Thampu of shielding the accused and "criminally intimidating" her to close the matter in the college itself in order to not cause any delay or problems in the completion of her Ph.D.

The complainant yesterday also made public a set of recordings that she claimed were conversations between herself, the accused and the principal.

Meanwhile, Delhi High Court today sought a reply from police on a plea by Kumar seeking anticipatory bail in the case and ordered a stay on his arrest till August 17.

Taking cognisance of the controversy, HRD ministry had last week sought an action-taken report from DU. The complainant has already refused to take part in ICC proceedings stating that she is "seeking redress elsewhere".

She had withdrawn her complaint from the committee on June 21 after claiming she had lost faith in its proceedings. She also refused to heed a call by ICC for appearing before it yesterday.

"I would like to make it abundantly clear that I have withdrawn my complaint from your committee and do not wish to pursue the matter before it as I am seeking redress elsewhere," she had said in an email to the ICC chairman.

PTI

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