A senior Gujarat Police Service (GPS) officer of Superintendent of Police rank retired earlier this year even as a preliminary inquiry report by Gujarat Police — indicting him for alleged sexual harassment of a woman police constable — remained pending before the Gujarat government, sources in the government said. Not having taken any action against the officer, the state government has now written to the Gujarat Public Service Commission (GPSC) to cut his pension as penal action, the sources added.
The officer has been identified as Bharat S Jani, who retired as Commandant of Group IX of State Reserve Police (SRP), Vadodara, in January.
The matter relates to 2013, when Jani was Superintendent of Lajpore jail in Surat and the complainant, a tribal police constable, was a telephone operator there. The constable, then 32, had accused Jani of sexual harassment and making indecent demands. In support of her accusations, she had submitted a CD containing voice recordings of her purported conversations with Jani, in which the latter was heard making the alleged demands. She also alleged that Jani, on many occasions, demanded that she accompany him to isolated places.
Following these allegations, the home department had ordered an inquiry by an officer of CID (Crime), Sujata Majmudar. Jani was also transferred from Lajpore jail to SRP by the home department.
The inquiry report, indicting Jani, was submitted to the home department last year. The report concluded that the allegations against Jani were well substantiated with evidence like voice recordings, which was enough to initiate proceedings against him.
However, the report remained pending before the state government and Jani retired in January this year without facing any action.
When The Indian Express contacted Jani about the inquiry and his retirement, he said, “I retired in January. No action was taken against me. I was not (even) given a departmental chargesheet.”
Jani added that there was a simultaneous complaint (by the complainant constable) in the Surat court. And the court had also ordered an inquiry against him, in which a woman police officer had recorded his statement some time ago.
When asked why no action was taken against Jani when a preliminary inquiry had indicted him, Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja said, “I am not aware about this case at present. I will have to check it out.”
Top sources in the government said that the home department has now, as a token move, written to the GPSC to cut pension granted to Jani after his retirement.
A senior officer from the state government said, “The nature of allegations against Jani was very serious and since the inquiry had indicted him, he could have faced actions like an order to compulsorily retire from the service. It could have been the first of its kind order in Gujarat Police.”