The husband and brother-in-law of the woman who had accused Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi of sexual harassment have been reinstated as head constables in the Delhi Police — more than four months after they were suspended.
“The suspension order has been revoked. Both of them have been reinstated last week but the departmental inquiry against them is still pending,” Additional Commissioner of Police (Delhi Armed police) C K Mein confirmed to The Indian Express. Asked why was the order revoked, Mein declined to comment.
In an affidavit, the woman had alleged that the two men were suspended soon after her termination as a Supreme Court staffer.
In her 28-page complaint dated April 19, the woman alleged that on October 10 and October 11, 2018, the CJI made sexual advances in his residence office, where she was posted, and touched her inappropriately.
She claimed that she was transferred multiple times after the alleged incident, and on December 21, 2018, she was suspended from service in connection with an inquiry initiated against her for questioning the decisions of senior officers regarding change of her postings and for taking leave without authorisation.
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In response to the woman’s allegations, CJI Gogoi had said: “This is unbelievable. I should not stoop low even in denying it… There has to be a bigger, bigger force behind this.”
A Crime Branch officer had earlier told The Indian Express that the woman’s husband and brother-in-law were facing departmental inquiries — the former for allegedly calling the CJI’s office, and the latter for allegedly concealing a 2015 police complaint against him over “unruly behaviour”. The Crime Branch officer had said that a joint inquiry had been ordered against the two men and they had been suspended — both on December 28, 2018.
When he was asked about the timing of the suspension of the two men, DCP (New Delhi) Madhur Verma had told The Indian Express in April: “There is no link between the departmental inquiry (against the two men) and the woman’s case.”
Speaking to The Indian Express, the woman’s brother-in-law confirmed that both he and his brother had been reinstated. “We were reinstated a few days ago and now we hope they will also close our departmental inquiry as we are innocent… My brother is currently in Mumbai with his wife for her ear treatment.” The woman’s husband told The Indian Express: “I am not aware of the development as I am on leave.”
Usually when a police officer is placed under suspension, the officer gets half his salary and has to report to the district lines every day but is not given any work. After the suspension order is revoked, the officer is again given full salary and put back on the job. A final call, however, is taken based on the findings of the departmental inquiry.
The Indian Express had earlier reported about departmental inquiries against the two men:
# On December 17, 2018, the woman’s husband was transferred from the Special Branch to the Third Battalion, based on an order sent by ACP headquarters. Four days after he was suspended, on January 2, 2019, a departmental inquiry was started against him. “It has been learnt that you are making unsolicited calls to the office of CJI. Therefore you are warned henceforth you will not make any calls to the said office,” the order from January 2, 2019, issued by the DCP (Third Battalion), read. On February 26, 2019, he was transferred to Second Battalion of Delhi Armed Police.
# On January 9, in an order issued by DCP (Third Battalion), it was alleged that the woman’s husband approached the SHO of Tilak Nagar police station and another head constable to allow a gambling racket to run in the locality. “The above act of the head constable is not conducive to the environment of a residential colony. These kind of activities may bring a bad name to Delhi Police,” the order read. The order also made a mention of a now quashed 2012 case against the woman’s husband and her brother-in-law.
# The brother-in-law is with the Second Battalion. He was suspended for allegedly concealing details of a past criminal case.
On May 6, concluding it “found no substance” in her allegations, the In-House Inquiry Committee gave Justice Gogoi a clean chit in an ex parte report in sealed cover.
The committee, comprising Justices S A Bobde, Indira Banerjee and Indu Malhotra, wrapped up the inquiry in sittings over four days: three days were devoted to the questioning and recording the statement of the woman complainant who withdrew from the proceedings on the third day, April 30, saying she was being denied access to a lawyer and was “not likely to get justice from this committee”, and the fourth day had the CJI appearing before the panel.
The committee report was submitted to Justice Arun Mishra who is No. 4 in seniority after CJI Gogoi, Justice Bobde and Justice N V Ramana. The report was not submitted to Justice Ramana who, after being named to the committee, recused himself once the complainant raised reservations over his inclusion.
In a statement, the woman had responded that “my worst fears have come true” and “am highly disappointed and dejected to learn that the In-House Committee ‘has found no substance’ in my complaint and feel that gross injustice has been done to me as a woman citizen of India”.
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