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Internal committee probes alleged sexual assault of Uzbek woman by customs officials

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: June 23, 2019  | 13:03 IST

New Delhi, Jun 23 (PTI) An Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) of the customs department is looking into the alleged sexual assault of a Uzbek woman by two customs officials posted at the Delhi airport. The two officials have been suspended by customs authorities. The panel, constituted to probe such matters under the provisions of The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, has started its work, officials said Sunday. The committee, that need to be mandatorily set up in an government organisation which has more than 10 workers for receiving complaints of sexual harassment, will look into charges of assault against two Superintendent of customs and come out with its findings, they said. The panel is headed by a senior-most woman employee at a work place and 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. The alleged sexual assault that took place last month was brought to notice of customs authorities by a 'whistleblower'. Giving details of the case, the officials said that one of the accused officials stopped the Uzbek woman (name withheld) upon her arrival from Tashkent on May 3, for checking of 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 customs authorities but retracted later after she is alleged to have been threatened of being framed in a false case of smuggling besides threat to her life by the accused officer, they said. While enquiring into the allegations against the Superintendent, a role of another officer of the same-rank had come to the notice of authorities. Both the officers were then suspended by the customs department pending a detailed probe. PTI AKV DV DV

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