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Edelweiss Group Top executive booked for sexually harassing woman #Vaw

Top executive booked for sexual harassment

Sharmeen Hakim|

HIGHLIGHTS

  • A manager with financial services major Edelweiss Group has accused a top company executive of sexually harassing her over three years and demanding that she sleep with an associate.
  • A case against the 60-year-old executive has been registered under the Indian Penal Code and the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act

Representative image.

A manager with financial services major Edelweiss Group has accused a top company executive of sexually harassing her over three years and demanding that she sleep with an associate.

The BKC police registered a case against the 60-year-old executive under the Indian Penal Code and the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act last week, after the 37-year-old woman described how she was asked to respond positively to sexual advances to boost her career.

An Edelweiss spokesperson rejected the allegations, saying a five-month internal inquiry had found no merit in the woman’s claims. The official suggested the woman turned vindictive after she was unable to make it into a company programme for employees with strong leadership qualities.

Edelweiss has accused the woman of transferring sensitive data without authorisation, a charge she denies. The woman and the executive cannot be named for legal reasons.

The accuser, a qualified chartered accountant and a lawyer, joined the company in 2013 after what she calls an easy interview conducted by the Mumbai based executive in question. She then directly reported to him.

The woman has claimed in her complaint that the executive’s conversations with her always had an element of sexual innuendos. She was shocked when he once allegedly asked her if she would use her attractive looks to climb the corporate ladder.

According to the complaint, filed through lawyer Mahesh Vaswani, the sexual harassment took a severe turn in January 2015 when the woman and other employees were at a Daman resort for an offsite. The executive entered the woman’s room and allegedly told her with a straight face that she would have to “satisfy him” to rise in the company. He, it has been claimed, made an inappropriate video of her and warned her against revealing any part of the conversation to anyone.

“If you dare speak a single word about today’s incident to anyone, I will circulate this video to everyone,” the executive said, according to the woman’s account. The complainant was so shaken by his behaviour that she remained in her room for the entire weekend.

On March 17 last year, the day of her appraisal, the executive asked her to accompany him to a formal dinner. There, offensive jokes were made on her, she has claimed. In a fresh statement made on Monday, the woman alleged she was asked to sleep with an associate attending the same dinner, but she balked at the demand and stormed out.

The woman has told the police that Edelweiss later refused to accept her resignation and instead accused her of data theft.

Last week, cops lodged a first information report against the executive under sections 354 (assault or criminal force with intent to outrage a woman’s modesty); section 321 (causing hurt) and 506 (criminal intimidation), among other offences under the IPC. A case has also been registered under the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act.

Edelweiss insisted the company’s thorough inquiry did not find any evidence of inappropriate behaviour by the 60-yearold executive. The company has an antisexual harassment committee as mandated under the ‘Vishaka Guidelines’, named after an NGO that took up the issue of workplace abuse in the Supreme Court.

 

“Subsequently, it came to our attention that she had made unauthorised data transfers for which an explanation was being sought. We are concerned that the FIR at this late stage is being motivated to deflect attention from the data transfer issue. The FIR contains allegations that were never brought up during our investigation.”http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/Top-executive-booked-for-sexual-harassment/articleshow/53184848.cms

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