Saurabh Trivedi

Students have raised allegations of sexual harassment and financial irregularities against the School of Life Sciences professor
The Delhi police booked Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) professor Atul Johri on charges of sexual harassment after students lodged complaint against him at Vasant Kunj Police Station on Thursday late night.

However, talking to PTI, the School of Life Sciences (SLS) professor, a vocal supporter of the university administration’s compulsory attendance initiative, claimed that he was being targeted for his stand on the issue.

At a press meet held on the campus, the women students of the SLS issued a statement that said, “The professor often makes sexually-coloured remarks, open demands for sex and comments on the figure of almost every girl. If a girl objects, he holds a grudge against her.”

Another statement issued by the students said, “There is a financial nexus between the professor and the administration. No instrument has been purchased for years, but still crores of rupees have been spent.”

On Wednesday night, a 26-year-old student, who went missing and was later traced to her relative’s house, had sent an e-mail to the professor, saying, “I am leaving your so-called prestigious lab, just because you are a characterless person and have no manners when it comes to talking to girls.” The screen shot of her complaint, which was marked to several other students, had gone around on social media and raised serious allegations against Prof Johri.

Denying the allegations, the professor said, “Some girls, who have levelled the allegations against me, had received a mail from me on February 27 regarding their irregular attendance in the lab. So, they are targeting me.”

He also shared the group mail with PTI.

The mail, which was marked to some of the students who have levelled the allegations against the professor, read, “Dear all, you are not coming to the lab on time. In many cases, even if you come, you are not in the lab the whole day.”

Referring to the 26-year-old student, the mail said, “Most of the time, you are absent. Please find another lab, it is very difficult to finish PhD on time. You have already used 30 days of leave.”

“It is because of these mails that I have been targeted by the students,” the professor said, adding that no complaint was filed against him either with the discarded GSCASH or the Internal Complaints Committee.

Police complaint filed

Police said they have received the complaint.

“A FIR under IPC section 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 509 (Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) has been filed at Vasant Kunj North police station against Professor Johri. He will be called for questioning,” said Milind Dumbre, DCP (South West).

They added that they have asked the woman to appear before the investigating team and record her statement. The matter is under investigation.