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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Rape allegation against firm director: Venezuelan national moves Gujarat HC for extension of employment visa

The company had allegedly terminated her employment soon after the allegations surfaced.

Written by Sohini Ghosh | Ahmedabad |
Updated: March 31, 2021 9:07:08 am
Gujarat HC to Bhachau court: Hear accused woman before framing charges against herThe Gujarat High Court on April 5 set aside an order of the additional district and sessions court of Bhachau in Kutch, to frame charges against a woman who is one of the 12 accused in Jayanti Bhanushali murder case. (File)

A 29-year-old Venezuelan woman, who accused a Bhavnagar-based company’s director of rape and criminal intimidation, has now moved Gujarat High Court seeking an extension of her employment visa to pursue the litigation here. The company had allegedly terminated her employment soon after the allegations surfaced.

The chairman of the firm and his younger son, the director who is accused of rape, have moved the high court seeking quashing of the FIR that names them as suspects in a case under the IT Act, for allegedly “leaking” intimate images of the woman and the chairman’s older son, under investigation by the CID (Crime and Railways).

Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO)’s legal representative told the court on Tuesday that since international flights were suspended until April 30, she could continue staying until then, advocate Rahil Jain, representing the woman, said.

A mechanical engineer graduate from Venezuela, the woman joined the company as an intern in August 2014 for six months which was then extended by another six months. By the end of 2016, she was designated as a permanent employee, and continued till September last year when she was terminated on the ground that she had been “absent from work” and her position was no longer required. The Venezuelan national was last working as an assistant manager of the marketing exports division in the company, she told this paper.

According to her advocate, “On August 27, 2020, she was called to the cabin of the director where the latter forced himself upon him. Shocked and petrified, she went home and nearly 10 days later had to seek psychiatric help where she was diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorder and was prescribed medicines as well as 15 days of rest. On September 22, 2020, she received an email abruptly terminating her”.

The woman filed a complaint on December 30, last year through the online portal of CID, (crime), Gandhinagar, alleging rape and criminal intimidation. Two days later the accused director filed a complaint with the Special Operations Group in Bhavnagar, that the woman’s Aadhaar card mentioned her identity as in ‘care of’ her father’s name, instead of ‘daughter of’.

She then lodged a complaint in-person with the CID Gandhinagar which was transferred to Vartej police station, on January 8.

The woman called a press conference the next day making public the charges of sexual assault which the chairman, in a public notice in news papers, on January 11, denied and also mentioned about “intimate images” of the woman and the older son “found in the company’s data”. The older son is currently on bail after being arrested for allegedly stabbing his younger brother during a board meeting presided over by his father on August 29, where he was removed as director.

On January 19, based on the Venezuelan national’s complaint the Vartej police station lodged an FIR naming the chairman and his younger son as “suspects” under IPC section 354 (c) (punishment for disseminating images taken without consent or knowledge of the person being photographed) and provisions of the Information Technology Act (section 67 and 67 (A) – transmitting, leaking obscene images). After she made a representation on January 22, DGP Ashish Bhatia transferred the FIR related to the leaked images to CID Gandhinagar. In February first week the victim moved Gujarat High Court with a plea, seeking that the complainant’s rape allegations too be transferred and investigated by the CID, Gandhinagar, and withdrew her application after the state government assured the court that both offences would be handled by the CID. DGP CID Crime & Railways DG TS Bisht said “there have been no arrests till date”. Investigating officer Shilpa Chaudhary said a team would be visiting Bhavnagar on Wednesday to record statements of the accused. Meanwhile the father-son, have moved the HC seeking quashing of the FIR which is to be heard on April 5.

Meanwhile the Bhavnagar sessions court order of including charges of rape and criminal intimidation in the FIR pertaining to IT Act has the investigating authorities in a fix.

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