K’taka sexual harassment case: Law graduate student alleges foul play, accused not held yet
Mangaluru: A case of sexual harassment filed by a law graduate student in Mangaluru city of Karnataka’s Dakshina Kannada district took a new turn as activists and the victim suspect foul play in the probe by state police.
The victim and activists have questioned the police on its failure to arrest the accused, a senior advocate, even after more than a week of filing an FIR against him.
The victim has filed a case of sexual harassment against senior advocate K.S.N Rajesh Bhat. The police suspended two of its officials, including a female Sub-Inspector, for dereliction of duty in connection with the case and have arrested three persons.
Prasanna Ravi, a social activist, who is supporting the victim, said no action has been taken against the main accused in this case. The Police Commissioner has said a special team has been formed to investigate the case.
“It has come to our notice that the accused has applied for anticipatory bail in the case. Even then the police are not doing anything to arrest the accused,” she added.
“The accused is absconding even after a week of filing a complaint. I have given an appeal to the Mangaluru Bar Council asking for their support. I request all of you to support me and the police to find the accused. I just want justice; I don’t want anything else. I just want the accused to be arrested by the police,” the victim said.
“The victim is a law student. If it is going to be so tough for her to deal with this case, imagine the plight of other victims. She is coming forward to speak as a law student. If she is not able to protect herself, how is she going to protect others and cooperate with investigating agencies,” Activist Prasanna Ravi added.
The arrested persons have been released on bail. “The victim does not belong to the state and has come here only to study law. She should be protected. Even after a week, why was the accused not arrested yet,” Ravi asked.
The accused advocate K.S.N Rajesh Bhat has been suspended from the membership of the Karnataka State Bar Council until further orders and he has been asked not to practice at the courts after the FIR was registered against him.
Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) authorities have directed the accused advocate not to continue as the ACB Special Public Prosecutor at Third Additional District and Sessions court.
Mangaluru Commissioner, N. Shashi Kumar had earlier said this is a serious case. Considering the sensitivity of the issue, to ensure transparency in the case he had appointed IPS officer Ranjith Bandaru as in-charge of the investigation. The accused will be arrested as per due procedure. Investigation is on, he added.