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Customs dept submits complaint with Delhi Police against official for sexually harassing Uzbek woman

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: October 7, 2019  | 15:22 IST

New Delhi, Oct 7 (PTI) The customs department has submitted a complaint with the Delhi Police against one of its superintendent-rank officials for allegedly sexually harassing an Uzbek woman at Delhi airport. An internal complaints committee (ICC) of the customs department initiated an inquiry against the official, who remains suspended, after the alleged incident was brought to the notice of the customs authorities by a "whistleblower". The ICC submitted a report to the commissioner of customs, Manish Kumar, and a complaint was referred to the Delhi Police recently, a source said. According to the report, the evidence and material on record indicate that the alleged sexual harassment of the woman "indeed occurred" in May. "On the basis of recommendations of the ICC, commissioner customs has directed that the matter be referred to the Delhi Police for lodging an FIR against the superintendent for sexual harassment of a woman who was in his custody at the time and for pressurizing the victim to retract the statement made against him," the customs department's complaint to the police said. Giving details of the case, officials said the accused stopped the woman (name withheld) upon her arrival from Uzbekistan capital Tashkent on May 3 for checking her baggage for any suspected smuggled goods. He then took her to a room, which had no CCTV camera, and spent about half an hour there without being accompanied by any woman customs officer, they said. It is alleged that the superintendent, who is in his early 50s, sexually assaulted the woman who had come here for treatment of her sister's child admitted to a private hospital here, the officials said. The woman had lodged a complaint with the customs authorities, but retracted later after she was allegedly threatened of being framed in a false case of smuggling besides threat to her life by the accused officer, they added. The panel was constituted to probe such matters under provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013. The committee, that needs to be mandatorily set up in a government organisation which has more than 10 workers for receiving complaints of sexual harassment, looked into the charges of assault against the superintendent of customs and came out with its findings. The panel, headed by a senior-most woman employee at work place, comprises at least two members from amongst employees preferably committed to the cause of women or who have had experience in social work or have legal knowledge and one member from amongst non-governmental organisations or associations committed to the cause of women or a person familiar with issues relating to sexual harassment. PTI CPS SNE SNE

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