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Arrested Delhi Officer Faces New Sexual Abuse Accusations: Report

Four women have filed sexual harassment complaints between 2018 and 2022 against Premoday Khakha, the suspended assistant director of Delhi’s Women and Child Development Department. Khakha was arrested on Monday for allegedly raping a minor girl.

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Kalyani Ganesan
Aug 25, 2023 16:51 IST
Four Women Accuse Ex Gov Official Of Sexual Harassment

Image Credits: Hindustan Times

Four women filed sexual harassment complaints between 2018 and 2022 against Premoday Khakha, the suspended assistant director of Delhi’s Women and Child Development (WCD) Department. Khakha was arrested on Monday for allegedly raping a minor girl several times at his home between November 2020 and January 2021.
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As reported by the Hindustan Times, the WCD department received four complaints of sexual harassment against Khakha between 2018 and 2022 by four women who were working at a mental health unit in the Sewa Kutir complex in Kingsway Camp when Khakha was posted as superintendent.

Four Women Accuse Ex Gov Official Of Sexual Harassment

The four women who filed that complaint were employed by an NGO and worked on a contractual basis at a mental health unit.

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The Hindustan Times report quoted a senior WCD official stating that two of the complainants were counsellors; one was a clinical psychologist, and the other chose to be anonymous. The complaint of sexual harassment was levelled against Khakha, who was heading the litigation wing of the department at the time.

The internal committee of the WCD, which has four members and a presiding officer, concluded that the harassment could not be proven in two of the complaints. The IC noted that the allegations of the two respondents couldn’t be proved and recommended that no action be taken on this issue. Both complainants challenged the IC’s report at the Delhi High Court.

The WCD official added that the department filed an affidavit in the first case on February 5, 2022, and the next hearing was scheduled for September 26, 2023. In the second case, the affidavit was filed on June 30, and the next hearing is scheduled to happen on November 30, 2023.

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The official also mentioned that the third complainant approached the Delhi High Court in June 2021 and asked to "approach the appropriate authority." It remains unknown if she approached the IC after that.

In the complaint by the anonymous woman, the vigilance wing of the department observed that it shouldn’t be considered due to a lack of merit.

What does the complaints state?

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The first complainant stated in her complaint that Khakha allegedly misbehaved with her many times between December 1, 2018 and April 7, 2019. She claimed he made objectionable remarks about her clothes and figure, adding that he also pressured her to have sex with him. The complainant called him an "intolerable boss" who tried to pull her on his lap in front of her colleagues. She also alleged that Khakha threatened her with dire consequences when he discovered the complaints.

The second and third complainants said that Khakha was a "terror in the remand homes and Sewa Kutir." The second complainant alleged that Khakha used "filthy language" while referring to juveniles under his care. She claimed that he routinely grabbed women by the hand or pushed them and called them his playthings.

She also claimed that Khakha once tried to drug her by making her drink a spiked soda. Once she felt dizzy, he allegedly started touching her, but somehow, she managed to escape. She added that from then on, she would never be alone around him.

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The third complainant reportedly stated that Khakha used to woo women with flowers and chocolate. She shared that whenever he found a woman alone, he used to start a conversation with her, saying that she didn’t have to be scared as he was vasectomised.

Rajendra Pal Gautam, who held the WCD portfolio until March 2022, told the Hindustan Times that there were no complaints during his tenure. Kailash Gahlot, the WCD minister between 2022 and early 2023, hasn’t commented on the issue.


Suggested Reading: Sexual Harassment At Workplace: Women Caught Between Safety And Success

#Government Official #Sexual harassment
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