New Delhi : St Stephen’s principal Valson Thampu on Saturday said that he “wholeheartedly” welcomes HRD ministry’s direction regarding the inquiry into the molestation row even as clamour mounted for his resignation for allegedly hushing up the matter.
“I got to know that HRD ministry has asked the University Grants Commission to ensure that a fair probe is conducted. I wholeheartedly welcome the decision and am ready to cooperate with all agencies,” he said.
Refuting allegations that he tried to hush up the matter by shielding the accused, he claimed that “the girl wasn’t sure she wanted to treat it as a sexual harassment complaint” and it was not for him but the victim to go to police. “It wasn’t for me but for the victim to approach the police over the issue. I could have raised it with the college’s Internal Complaints Committee (ICC), which I duly did,” he said, responding to queries as to why the matter was not reported to police when he first received the complaint.
“The girl wasn’t sure she wanted to treat it as a sexual harassment complaint. If I would have reported it to police, it would have been breach of trust,” he added.
Thampu, meanwhile, said that the protest staged at the college by students’ bodies on Friday has struck “terror” among the aspirants who were on the campus to appear for admission interviews.
“I believe every educational institution should have a zero-tolerance policy on such issues. I am with the victim in her quest for justice, but the issue should not be politicised,” he said.
About the audio recordings submitted to police by the complainant claiming that Thampu had put pressure on her to not treat the matter as that of sexual harassment, Thampu said they have been “mischievously edited”. He maintained that he has not heard the recordings and has only seen the published transcripts. “I shall make no comments on the merit of the contents and how cleverly they have been manipulated insofar as a police investigation into the case is in progress, but they have been mischievously edited,” he said.