Over seven weeks after a group of current and ex-students of the Kalwa-based Rajiv Gandhi Medical College accused surgery department head, Dr Shaileshwar Natrajan, of sexually harassing them, the accused senior professor was arrested by Thane police late Tuesday afternoon.
Around 2 pm on Tuesday, State minister for medical education Jitendra Awhad visited the college and spoke to some students before approaching Kalwa police station officials, asking why a police complaint had not been taken despite such serious allegations against Natrajan.
Following Awhad’s visit, Additional CP (Crime) Ravindra Singhal also reached Kalwa police station to take stock of the issue. Around 4 pm, college dean Dr Choity Maitra filed a complaint with Kalwa police against Natrajan, based on the findings of an internal inquiry committee set up to probe the allegations on April 30.
According to the complainants, Natrajan would force them to demonstrate breast self-examination techniques in class and touch them inappropriately while claiming to have done so inadvertently.
The students’ complaint was highlighted by Mirror on April 26, two days after the victims sent an anonymous email to the college dean and the Thane Commissioner of Police. They had also formed a WhatsApp support group to bring more victims on board.
Emboldened by the Mirror report, around 30 ex-students had come out with sordid tales of harassment by Natrajan. Based on the complaints, college authorities suspended the accused and formed an inquiry committee on April 30 to probe the allegations. During its 41-day probe, the committee recorded the statements of around 40 ex-students and had submitted its report to Maitra recently.
“I approached the police and filed the case against Dr Natrajan as the sexual harassment committee report found him guilty. All allegations made by the students were proved to be true. The allegations were of a very serious nature, and when it came to light that he had actually abused students I decided to file a police case in this regard. I have informed Thane Municipal Commissioner Aseem Gupta about the case” said Maitra. A departmental inquiry is also in progress against Natrajan.
“We have presently booked him under IPC section 354, but we will go through the report submitted by the college inquiry committee as well as the victims’ statements after which further sections may be added,” said PI Ravikant Mahalekar with Kalwa police station.
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