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Senior Goa politician shielding journalist Rupesh Samant accused in sexual harassment case, alleges victim

IndiaNewsNetwork.IN Bureau | 2nd Oct 2015: Even as the Panaji city Women police cell probing the sexual harassment case against senior journalist (and Goa Press Trust of India – PTI – Bureau chief) Rupesh Samant has registered a third first information report (FIR) against him yesterday (Thursday), following a complaint lodged by another woman journalist, one of the victims alleged that a senior politician is shielding the accused and protecting him from being arrested. According to a media report on a local Goa news website, it is learnt that the victim said she has informed the IO (investigating officer) of her doubts and also submitted details of phone calls made by a third party on behalf of the politician, requesting and pleading with her to ‘just let the matter be’ after securing a personal written apology from Samant.

The complainant in her complaint has alleged that Samant promised her a job in a local TV news channel HCN or Herald Cable Network. The incident reportedly took place in the year 2013.

According to the complainant, Samant took her in a car to a secluded location and allegedly misbehaved with her and molested her. She protested and demanded that Samant drive back to Panaji.

Following the complaint, police have registered an offence under section 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and Section 509 (Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the IPC.

The first FIR was registered against Samant on September 24 and two days later, there was another FIR registered following a second complaint of sexual harassment.

Fearing arrest, Samant has approached the Sessions Court seeking anticipatory bail and the matter was adjourned to October 6.

Meanwhile, Samant has reportedly dishonored the police summons for the third time and is in hiding.

According to the police, summons were issued to Samant on three occasions asking him to appear before the investigating officer in connection with the case.

The third time summons were issued on Thursday morning instructing Samant to appear at the woman police station in the evening but he did not appear, the police said.

The Herald Group has snapped ties with Rupesh Samant, stating that it will not engage his services for its HCN TV channel or in any capacity till the case is finalized by the court. The media group has also assured to initiate an inquiry into the complaints through internal committee against sexual harassment, which has been set up recently.

A delegation of the Goa Union of Journalists (GUJ) called on the Director General of Police T N Mohan on Monday and urged him to treat the case against the senior journalist Rupesh Samant pertaining to sexual harassment of colleague lady journalists with urgency, while taking care that the identities of the victims are not disclosed.

The DGP assured the delegation that if anyone is involved in threatening witnesses or coercing them, they would be booked and if necessary arrested. The Deputy Inspector General of Police V Renganathan and Inspector General of Police Sunil Garg were also present on the occasion.

Speaking further, the DGP said that the case is very strong. He also assured that secrecy about victims would be maintained.

The GUJ delegation also submitted memorandum to the Goa State Commission for Women, and asked it to take cognizance of the particular case.

Meanwhile, the GUJ executive committee will be meeting on September 29 to decide on the GUJ membership of Samant. The GUJ is also expected to write to Press Trust of India (PTI) to take cognizance of the case and act in the matter, as Samant is the employee of PTI.

(with inputs from agencies and local online news portals)

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