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IIM-B campus keeps sexual harrassment accused away

Monday, 3 December 2012 - 4:22pm IST | Place: Bangalore | Agency: dna

Colleagues in the dark about chief administrative officer Indu Shekhar Vassist’s whereabouts since Friday

The Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB), where a female doctor has accused the chief administrative officer (CAO) Indu Shekhar Vasisst of sexually harassing her, has kept the sexual harassment accused away from campus as pressure for action against him has been mounting.

The room of Vasisst at the institute has been sealed. He was last seen at the campus on Thursday when representatives of Vimochana, a forum for women’s rights, staged a protest. Since Friday, his colleagues have not known about his whereabouts.
While sources confirmed that the accused has been away from the institute, none confirmed if he has been suspended.

“He has been asked to go on leave for a month. However, we have also been hearing that he has been suspended. The room has been sealed so that nothing can be tampered with,” said a source.

According to another source, there has been speculation that Vassist has been suspended. “Usually, when someone goes on leave, his/her room can be accessed. The room is sealed only in severe cases like this,” said the source, adding:”The room will be sealed till the report by IIMB’s Gender Sensitivity Committee (GSC) is released.”

When the victim was contacted, she said she too had heard that the accused has been suspended. “I have heard that he is under suspension and has got an order for termination. However, I will only believe it when I see the order,” she said.

Representatives of Vimochana will be contacting director Pankaj Chandra to seek an appointment to discuss these issues. “We are writing to human, civil and women’s rights organisations about the issue. IIMB will not be able to get away,” said Vimochana founder Donna Fernandes, adding that: “We want a judicial inquiry and the victim has to be reinstated.”

In December 2009, the victim was allegedly subjected to unwelcome sexual overtures by Vasisst. In November 2010, she made an oral complaint to the GSC chairperson. In December 2010, she made another oral complaint to the director. A written complaint was registered with GSC in June 2011. In January 2012, her services were terminated. GSC began its inquiry in March 2012 and the report was submitted to the director in August 2012, with recommendations.

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