Two IIT-M professors move Madras HC seeking anticipatory bail in sexual harassment case – The Hindu

Chennai News

Police also files an application urging the court to cancel advance bail already granted to prime accused, a research scholar

Police also files an application urging the court to cancel advance bail already granted to prime accused, a research scholar

Two professors from Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) have approached the Madras High Court seeking anticipatory bail in a case booked by Greater Chennai police against many individuals, including a few students, for having raped and sexual harassed a Dalit research scholar between 2016 and 2020.

Justice G. Jayachandran has adjourned the hearing on their plea to April 18. Professor G. Edamana Prasad and Professor Ramesh L. Gardas said that they had been arrayed as the fifth and ninth accused in the First Information Report (FIR) registered at the All Women Police Station in Mylapore on June 9, 2021.

According to the petitioners, they serve in the department of chemistry of IIT-M and teach B.Tech, dual degree and M.Sc., students besides guiding Ph.D. and post doctoral research scholars. They pointed out that the other accused named in the FIR were the students of the chemistry department.

Claiming that the case of the prosecution was that the first two accused had harassed the complainant mentally, physically and sexually on multiple occasions, the petitioners said that it was an admitted case that the complainant as well as the accused students had travelled together on leisure trips on their own.

They further claimed that the allegations were primarily against the first accused P. Kingshuk Debsharma of West Bengal, who was a research scholar, and the second accused. Stating that the victim had lodged a complaint with the IIT-M management in 2020, the professors claimed that the institute did not find any substantive evidence.

However, in order to give moral peace to the victim, the institute allowed her to complete her research without the interference of any of the accused and directed the accused students to stay out of the campus and complete their studies by being day scholars. They were also instructed not to have any interaction with the complainant.

Stating that their names never figured in the internal inquiry by the institute, the professors said that strangely, their names were included as accused in the FIR. “The petitioners submit that they hold high positions in society being teachers,” they pointed out and sought anticipatory bail after undertaking to abide by any condition.

Bail cancellation

In the meantime, the prosecution too moved an application urging the High Court to cancel the anticipatory bail already granted to the first accused Kingshuk Debsharma on December 6, 2021.

When the cancellation application was listed before Justice T.V. Thamilselvi on Tuesday, she granted time till April 22 for the accused to file his objections to the application taken out by the police.

Additional Public Prosecutor R. Muniyapparaj said, after the grant of anticipatory bail to the prime accused, the police had altered the charges in the FIR and included many other provisions including those under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989.

Thereafter, a team went to West Bengal and arrested the accused since he had not complied with the conditions issued by the court to execute bonds to the satisfaction of a Metropolitan Magistrate in Saidapet. After arresting him, the police sought transit warrant from a Magistrate in West Bengal.

Instead of issuing the warrant for the limited purpose of transporting the accused from West Bengal to Chennai, the Magistrate accepted the sureties and let the accused free. Such a course adopted by the Magistrate was wrong, the APP claimed and urged the court to cancel the advance bail.