The Haryana additional chief secretary has denied the charges, saying the woman seems to be ‘under some stress’ and was complaining because she had ‘willfully disobeyed’ his orders about attending meetings.
Chandigarh: A 2014-batch IAS officer has accused a Haryana additional chief secretary of sexual harassment and threats in a social media post.
Rani Nagar, who is being named by ThePrint with her explicit permission, serves as an additional secretary in the department of animal husbandry, where the alleged perpetrator, 1984-batch officer S.K. Gulati, was posted last month.
Gulati has denied the charges, saying Nagar seemed to be “under some stress” and was complaining because she had “willfully disobeyed” his orders about attending meetings. He said he had called the state chief secretary and informed him about the issue and was ready to face any investigation.
In a detailed post on her Facebook page, Nagar Sunday said Gulati made her sit in his office at Haryana’s New Civil Secretariat in Chandigarh till late in the evening, talked inappropriately to her and, on at least one occasion, tried to get physically near her.
Between 23 May and 6 June, Nagar reportedly submitted three complaints against Gulati to the President’s secretariat, addressing them to a Rashtrapati Bhavan public relations officer Kumar Samresh. “I will now be giving my complaint to police,” she told ThePrint.
The Haryana government is yet to issue a reaction to Nagar’s post, which was also shared on her Twitter handle.
Gulati has offered a point-by-point rebuttal to all of Nagar’s allegations.
Among other things, Nagar has alleged that Gulati “talked to her inappropriately on many occasions and made her sit in office till after 7 pm”. He allegedly threatened to “spoil her annual confidential report, get her transferred out of his department and ruin her”.
She also claimed that he had threatened to tag her as a “troublemaker” if she continued to make “bad file notings”.
Addressing the accusation, Gulati said Nagar had “barely served in the field”, adding, “I have, on some occasions, tried to tell her that she should be decision-oriented in her notings… rather than putting these off to others.”
“We are paid to decide on files not delay them,” he added.
Nagar has claimed that, “on one occasion”, he called me near his chair to show her something on his computer. “Then he got up from his chair and came around to mine, as if looking for some papers. Then he pushed my chair. He started using abusive words on the phone in front of me,” she added, calling his behavior towards her “immoral and undignified”.
She said he would tell his staff to leave his office, leaving her alone with him, and then ask her if she wanted to do her job seriously or only pass her time. “I will give you work accordingly,” he allegedly said.
Gulati said that, barring an occasion or two, “On almost all the occasions that she has been called to my room, other members of the staff have been present.”
“On maybe one or two occasions, when I had to tell her about her flawed style of working, I thought it would be inappropriate to say it before the junior staff,” he added, “That is when I asked them to go out of the room.”
“There is no question of any threat or exploitation of any kind,” he said.
“The reason she is complaining is because I asked her to attend the meetings we have with farmers rearing animals. I thought she will get a first-hand experience of the people regarding whom we take decisions,” he claimed. “But she first refused to attend the meeting held in Gurgaon, and now she has not arrived for today’s meeting at Rohtak,” he said Sunday, “Instead she chose to post whatever came to her mind on social media.”
Moved court over ‘50 instances of harassment, threats’
Nagar’s Facebook post included a 14-page statement, along with an application dated 10 May submitted before the court of the Kosli judicial magistrate, that sought to detail several other alleged instances of harassment and threats to her life.
Nagar joined as the sub-divisional magistrate for Kosli in November 2016, and the court application followed an ongoing case filed on her complaint against a local she had accused of misbehaving with her in public and making obscene gestures.
In the statement given to the court, she attached a list of over 50 complaints she said she had filed with various authorities since July 2015.
The complaints pertain to an alleged abduction attempt by an auto driver in Ghaziabad; sexual harassment by the drivers assigned to her; unknown people trespassing into her official residence; and withheld salary.
While the auto driver was booked and arrested following her October 2016 complaint, Nagar alleges no arrests have been made in the trespassing case, which allegedly occurred while she was posed as the SDM for Dabwali in December 2017. The FIR filed names unknown people as accused.
On that occasion, too, Nagar had made a video detailing her account of the alleged episode and posted it on Facebook.
She also claims that, while posted in Ambala as an assistant commissioner under training in late 2015, she suffered sexual harassment by the drivers on duty. “They would masturbate, touch their private parts while I was in the car and look at me in the rear-view mirror,” she said.
She filed complaints with the office of the Ambala deputy commissioner, who ordered a three-member committee to probe the incident, but Nagar said uncertainty prevailed on the status of the inquiry. “I was called by the committee to give my statement after almost three months… However, after that, I have not been told what happened of it,” she said.
Nagar forwarded the 14-page statement to the email ID of the President on 11 May, but said she was yet to receive a response.
‘IPS officer made obscene gesture’
Another serious charge in her statement pertains to an alleged obscene gesture made to her in October 2015 by a senior IPS officer at a public grievances meeting in Ambala where he was on stage with Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar. She said she was seated in the front row, and had been scared since the incident.
Since the IPS officer could not be contacted for his version, his name is being withheld for the time being.
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