Court asks govt why Special DGP is not yet suspended after sexual harassment plaint

The Madras High Court on Friday asked the State government to explain why the Special DGP accused of sexually harassing a woman SP has not been suspended till date, while the SP who allegedly waylaid her on the Special DGP’s instructions has been placed under suspension.
Court asks govt why Special DGP is not yet suspended after sexual harassment plaint

Chennai

Justice N Anand Venkatesh, who had suo motu taken cognisance of the incident and is monitoring the probe, pointed out that the SP who waylaid the victim was only the arrow while the Special DGP was the bow and expressed wonder at the government’s hesitation in suspending him. “Is he so powerful that you cannot suspend him,” the judge asked.
Recording the submission of the State Public Prosecutor A Natarajan that he would get instructions from the government in this regard, the court said, “The issue involved is quite sensitive and required to be handled with a lot of maturity. At this stage, both the State as well as the court must maintain neutrality. Ultimately, the whole purpose of this court monitoring is to find out the truth behind the alleged incident.”
Expressing satisfaction on the manner in which the investigation is progressing in the case, Justice Anand Venkatesh said, “The effectiveness of a criminal prosecution can be ensured only when it is completed at the earliest and that there is a certainty of punishment if the accused person is found guilty. Merely discussing a case from all quarters will not yield effective results.”
The judge acknowledged the restraint shown by the media and political parties as per the court order on March 1 and extending the direction. “The issue on hand does not confine itself to two individuals. There is a larger issue that requires an effective solution. The interest of the entire police force in Tamil Nadu has to be taken into consideration.
“One of the main reasons as to why such a restriction was placed is because this court did not want a parallel media trial to take place in the case,” he added while posting the plea for further hearing to March 16 to enable the government to file its status report.
The counsel appearing for the Special DGP submitted that even before the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) could commence hearing, one of the committee members had openly commented in WhatsApp that the accused should be hanged without trial. Another committee member cited as a witness was sitting as a committee member, the counsel added.
To this, the judge directed the counsel to avoid making such submissions but allowed him to record his protest in writing and made part of the case file.

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