BHOPAL: National Commission for Woman ( NCW) member Charu Wali Khanna said what happened with the girl students in Bhopal centre of NIFT was a ‘ sex scandal’ and the higher authorities, including officials of union ministry of textiles tried to hush up the case by forming committees one after another.
Wali Khanna, who visited National Institute of Fashion Technology ( NIFT) in connection with two- month- old sexual harassment case, told media persons that it was ‘ institutional failure’ in the case in which authorities tried to suppress the victims. ” It was in fact a ‘ sex scandal’ in a Centre- run prestigious institute,” she said. Accompanied by State Women’s Commission member Vandana Mandavi, Wali Khanna talked with over 20 victims and was ‘ shocked’ to listen to the victims’ statements.
The girls were asked to reveal what happened with them again and again and to appear before different committees. Five committees were formed to investigate the case only to suppress the facts as they were not formed as per the norms,” the NCW member said. Joint director of the institute Vasant Kothari, who was shifted to Jodhpur by the ministry after the case came to light, was accused of showing pornographic pictures and indulging in obscene acts and passing lewd comments to girl students. SWC urged the NCW to take up the matter as it does not come under purview of the former.
She blamed the present institute director as well. She said, present authorities indirectly tried to conceal the facts and did not provide copy of first fact finding report.Also, students who could be vulnerable and turn hostile easily were sent to record statement first but later students said they will come in group and reveal all facts.
She said the commission would recommend for suspension of Kothari as he was shifted on the place of his choice after the case. The member first approached executive magistrate SDM to record victims’ statement under section 164 of CrPC and later additional district judge ( ADJ) in local court. She said it would make the case stronger as most of victims would not be available at trial stage in the criminal procedure in this case after passing out from the institute. Around 30 victims gave an application to SWC to record their fresh statement in the case which was given to Chunabhatti police station.The police said it would submit it to the court.
‘ NIFT DG insensitive’
On NIFT director general PK Gera’s statement, the NCW member said his statement showed insensitivity towards the case and the commission will certainly take it into notice for action against him. How a senior official could make such statement in the case, she asked.