The investigation in the case of a Dalit scholar’s alleged sexual assault at IIT-Madras has now been transferred to the Tamil Nadu Crime Branch- Crime Investigation Department. The move comes nearly two years after the scholar had first gone public with her allegations.
In March 2021, a Ph.D. scholar had lodged a sexual assault complaint against a fellow researcher named Kingshuk Debsharma, and seven others in Mylapore All Women Police station. The complainant stated that the main accused had allegedly sexually assaulted her, repeatedly, for four years, and blackmailed her using her photos. Two professors at the institute had also been accused of harassing the complainant.
The main accused was arrested in West Bengal by a special police team, on March 27 this year, as per reports. Mylapore assistant commissioner has also stated that, since the case dates back to 2016, evidence is being collected, based on which, sections of the FIR may be altered. The two professors who have been accused of harassment will also be brought in for questioning. The woman in her complaint has stated that she was physically and mentally harassed by Kingshuk Debsharma, repeatedly since, 2016. She added that she was sexually abused in Coorg when she went on a college trip in 2018. She was also allegedly filmed in her lab on the campus, and then blackmailed by the accused with his 7 other accomplices, continuously for four years, as per reports.
IIT Madras Sexual Abuse Case: Transferred to Tamil Nadu Crime Branch- CID
The All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) took up the case to help the woman, and seek justice in this matter. AIDWA general secretary P Suganthi, of Tamilnadu, has probed for the transfer of the case to the Crime Branch-CID for a thorough investigation, citing delay and irregularities by the city police. The AIDWA has also stated that the FIR did not include sections of the SC/ST Act and rape, even though the woman belonged to a Dalit community. The AIDWA has not only asked for a transfer but also sought action against the city police for the delay in the case.
The case was filed again in June 2021, with FIR including sections 354 (assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 354B (assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe), 354C (voyeurism) and 506(1) (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code. Later, the FIR was altered to include Sections 376 of IPC (punishment for rape) and sections of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Kingshuk, arrested from West Bengal by the Tamil Nadu police on March 27, 2022, secured bail the next day on March 28, by convincing the court that he would pay the surety on anticipatory bail. The accused hasn’t even appeared in person for inquiry, citing health reasons, even after a fresh summon on March 31, 2022, by the city police. Citing no trust in the city police, the case has now been transferred to the Tamil Nadu Crime Branch-CID for a thorough investigation on this case after a year of the complaint being filed.
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