The committee formed to probe sexual harassment charges against suspended police officer Salwinder Singh has indicted him and recommended criminal action under section 354 A (sexual harassment) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The committee, headed by Inspector General of Police Gurpreet Kaur Deo, found Salwinder Singh guilty of sexual harassment under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013. The committee also recommended disciplinary action against Salwinder.
The probe report noted that Salwinder, when he was Superintendent of Police (Headquarters) at Gurdaspur, “misused his official position in order to establish physical relations with women staff working under him.” The report pointed out that four of the complainants were recruited in the police department on compassionate grounds after the death of their husbands and that Salwinder thought that “such women were vulnerable to fall in his trap easily”.
As many as five women cops working under Salwinder had lodged complaints against him, alleging sexual harassment. Initially, the complaints were made anonymously but later the police managed to track down the complainants, a Punjab police officer said.
Salwinder had refuted the allegations, claiming that as SP (Headquarters) he was the administrative head and some of the staff members working under him were “inimical” towards some of the decisions taken by him and were “falsely” complaining against him.
The statements of complainants were recorded by the committee headed by Deo and Salwinder Singh was transferred as Assistant Commandant 75 Battalion PAP Jalandhar pending inquiry. He was yet to join at his new place of posting when terrorists allegedly snatched his XUV on the night of December 31, 2015 after he was “returning from a shrine” along with his cook Madan Gopal and jeweller friend Rajesh Verma. During questioning by the National Investigating Agency, Salwinder said the terrorists dumped him and the cook after driving some distance and took with them Verma up to Akalgarh village adjacent to Pathankot airbase.
In August, a case of sexual abuse and corruption was also registered against Salwinder at Gurdaspur. He was alleged to have abused his position to demand sexual favours and bribe to give clean chit to the husband of the “victim” in a criminal case dating back to 2014.