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St Stephen's molestation row: After HRD ministry, DCW seeks action report

The victim stated in her complaint that the principal, Valson Thampu, had "criminally intimidated her to give a written application to him expressing her consent to close the matter in the college itself in order to not cause any delay or problems in completion of her PhD".

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St Stephen's molestation row: After HRD ministry, DCW seeks action report
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St Stephen's professor Satish Kumar, facing allegation of molesting a PhD scholar, today found himself in a tight spot as the HRD ministry and Delhi Commission for Women have sought action-taken report from the college about the incident.

Kumar, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, was yesterday denied anticipatory bail by a Delhi Court in connection with the case. The professor, also the Bursar of the college, has resigned from the post following which the college's Governing Body today made a new appointment. He will, however, continue to discharge his teaching responsibilities.

"HRD ministry had sent a directive to Delhi University seeking a report in connection with the sexual harassment case. The communication was forwarded by DU Registrar to the college and I have sent a status report on it to the university," St Stephen's Principal Valson Thampu told PTI.

Asked about the content of his reply, Thampu said, "I have explained the sequence of events which unfolded from the day the girl had approached me with her complaint. I have also attached relevant" documents. I have nothing to hide".

The student, who is doing her PhD under Kumar, had approached police last week alleging that she was molested by the teacher in October, 2013. She has also alleged that college principal Thampu tried to protect him when the matter was reported to the college authorities.

The victim stated in her complaint that Thampu had "criminally intimidated her to give a written application to him expressing her consent to close the matter in the college itself in order to not cause any delay or problems in completion of her PhD".

Thampu told that while the matter was reported to the college's Internal Complaints Committee (ICC), a statutory body to deal with such complaints, the girl had also forwarded a complaint to the university's chemistry department.  "It wasn't clear from the HRD directive whether a status report has been sought from both the committees or St Stephen's alone," he said.

Officials in the HRD ministry said that any action in the case will be taken after evaluating the reply. "Any action against St Stephen's principal or any further development will be based on the outcome of the reply received from the university," they said.

Condemning the incident as "shameful", Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Barkha Shukla Singh also sought an action-taken report from Thampu. "While taking this issue in all seriousness, I would like to know as to what prompt action has been initiated by the college authorities to give justice to the suffering student of your college," Singh inquired in a letter written to the principal.

Thampu, however, said that he is yet to receive the communication from DCW.

He has been maintaining that he had offered to change the student's guide but she had "refused" to accept his suggestion The victim, however, claimed that she had approached Delhi University requesting a change of guide, but her complaint was not paid any heed to.

Meanwhile, a team of police officials today visited the college for further investigation in connection with the case.

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