Varsity’s internal committee has submitted probe report to VC. One of the accused didn’t comment, another rubbished allegations
Two professors of Amity University in Panvel, touted to be the state’s first private university, face action in separate sexual harassment complaints filed by two women, one a student and the other an employee of the varsity.
Amity University’s internal committee against sexual harassment (CASH) began an inquiry into the allegations against Dr Rakesh Singh, dean (academics), and Dr Kuldeep Singh Panwar, head of the department (law), after the two women filed the complaints in October.
CASH has completed the investigation and submitted the report to vice chancellor Dr Vijay Khole, who is likely to declare today or tomorrow whether the two professors are guilty or not, and if found guilty, what action will be taken against them.
According to sources, there are serious allegations against both Rakesh and Kuldeep, who reportedly not only made suggestive comments with sexual overtones at the victims, but also tried to make physical contacts with them many times.
“The victims were traumatised and after their warnings went unheeded, they chose to formally lodge complaints with the university authorities. They might file an FIR once they get a copy of the internal committee report,” the source said.
Rakesh, however, rubbished the allegations as “baseless” and claimed that a conspiracy had been hatched against him. Kuldeep did not respond to text messages and calls from this correspondent, Confirming the sexual harassment charges levelled against the two professors, registrar of Amity University Ravi Manuja said, “We received written complaints from two different victims against Rakesh Singh and Kuldeep Singh Panwar. As per UGC norms, we instituted an inquiry by our internal committee. The seven-member committee completed the probe. Statements of the accused and the complainants have been recorded, along with those of the witnesses.”
Manuja further said that the vice chancellor has made it clear that the committee’s recommendations would be followed strictly. “Strict action, which includes suspension, will be taken against the accused if they are found guilty. They will not be protected by the university if the charges against them are proved to be true.”
One of the complainants had claimed that she was facing pressure from the accused to leave the job and she has submitted her resignation, the registrar said.
“But we have not accepted her resignation and assured her that she will be safe at the university. She is on our payroll and there is no pressure on her to leave the job,” Manuja said.
VC Khole declined to speak to the media, as the report of the internal probe is with him and he is the final authority to take action as per the recommendations of the committee. However, he informed through the registrar that the findings of the committee would be announced by Thursday or Friday.
This is the first time since the university’s inception three years ago that sexual harassment complaints have been filed against any professor.
Rakesh, who joined the university eight months ago, said, “The allegations are baseless. A conspiracy has been hatched against me by VC Khole because my appointment has been made by our headquarters in Noida.”
He further claimed that if he is declared guilty and is suspended by the university, he will challenge the action legally.
The registrar dubbed Rakesh’s allegations bogus. “The Noida headquarters had also appointed me, the pro VC and a few others. We all think VC Khole is a wonderful person to work with. No conspiracy has been hatched against anyone. This is the best academic institute one can study at and we are concerned about the university’s image being sullied. No one will be shielded, whoever he/ she is,” Manuja said.