IndiaNewsNetwork.IN Bureau | 26th Sept 2015: As reported by Goanews.com, a third victim journalist has come forward with a complaint of a more serious nature against Goan senior journalist Rupesh Samant, who is charged with sexually exploiting women journalists working under him in a local cable TV channel HCN or Herald Cable Network.
The victim has alleged that Samant sexually harassed her for almost a year, since 2014. Meanwhile, Samant has evaded two summons issued by the Women’s police station and has instead sent a lawyer with a message that he would appear before the police, Goanews.com reported.
The Goa Union of Journalists has urged Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar to provide security to complainants and hand over the case to a senior lady police officer.
Following complaints by two women journalists, a third complaint has now been filed which includes two more sections – 354 D and 509 of IPC – slapped on Samant. As per the complaint, Samant sexually harassed the woman journalist by showing advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures, due to which section 509 IPC is applied. “The addition of these new sections, make it impossible for Samant to evade arrest and the police will have to arrest him when he appears before them, unless of course he manages to procure anticipatory bail before that,” a senior lawyer commented.
Besides stating that Samant had sexually harassed her almost for one year since June last year, she has also made specific allegation of an incident on 27 May this year, at the channel office as well as River Lounge restaurant at Ribandar Patto.
Though police said Samant is required only for interrogation and not for arrest, a senior police official however told goanews.com that they would strongly oppose if he applies for anticipatory bail on Monday by evading summons.
Meanwhile, a delegation of GUJ last night met chief minister Parsekar and handed him over a memorandum with following requests:
“Given that the accused in this case is a powerful, well-connected journalist, there is every possibility that he might attempt to coerce or threaten witnesses or otherwise influence the investigation. In this regard and in the interest of justice, it is of utmost importance that there be an impartial inquiry conducted and the identities of the victims be carefully protected.
We have received reports that some elements are trying to reach out to the victim complainants.
We, the Goa Union of Journalists, would request you to hand over this sensitive case to a senior lady police officer, which will go a long way in helping the victims come forward with their complaints. We also seek that specific directions be issued to the Director General of Police to ensure that nobody threatens or obstructs the complainants and if necessary, the complainants be provided with security.”
According to an IANS report, the Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch, Kartik Kashyap, told reporters that an FIR under section 354A (related to sexual harassment) has been registered at the Women’s Police Station in Panaji.
According to the FIR, Rupesh Samant, Goa Bureau Chief of Press Trust of India (PTI) was accused of allegedly stalking the two victims, sending them vulgar messages via mobile phone and making sexual advances. This was done at Herald Cable Network, a local cable channel where the two journalists earlier worked.
Samant, according to information, also used to appear as a news anchor at the cable channel.
Samant was not reachable over the phone. The executive editor of PTI, V.S. Chandrasekar, at its head office in Delhi, told IANS that it “was a matter for the police to investigate.”
The Goa Union of Journalists said in a statement that Goa police should take the case to its logical conclusion. It demanded that the investigation into the alleged sexual harassment should “be expedited, without fear or favour.”
The state’s journalists’ body has also urged women victims to come forward if they have faced a similar situation at the workplace in media houses.
SOURCE: GOA NEWS.COM & IANS