Mumbai crime: American woman molested by boutique employee in Taj

A US-based businesswoman was allegedly molested by the employee of a boutique located inside Taj Mahal Palace at the Gateway of India. The accused was arrested by the Colaba police on the same day, after the woman filed an FIR.

Burlingtons’, a boutique inside Taj Mahal Palace. Pic/Bipin Kokate

According to the police, the incident occurred on December 2 between 10 pm and 11.20 pm after the woman had placed an order for outfits at the Burlingtons’ store located inside the hotel. The designer of the store, Arun Jackson James, called up the client and told her he needed to take her measurements. The lady directed him to her hotel room.

“Soon after entering the room, the accused kissed the victim on her hands. Then, on the pretext of taking measurements, he touched her inappropriately and even tried to grope her. This is when the victim raised an alarm and alerted the hotel staff,” said an officer from the Colaba police station.

The victim, who is a jewellery designer by profession, rushed to the Colaba police station and in the presence of officials from the hotel, an FIR was registered against James, who is in his 30s. Sub-Inspector Priya Bagul of Colaba police station said, “A translator accompanied the victim to help narrate the facts of the incident.

Initially she had submitted a letter of complaint to us, which we converted into her statement.”  The Colaba police have booked James, a Chembur resident, under sections 354 (assault to outrage woman’s modesty), 354A (sexual harassment of the nature of unwelcome physical contact) and 509 (act intended to insult modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code.

He was produced before the metropolitan magistrate court and was remanded to police custody. When contacted, a spokesperson from Taj Mahal Palace confirmed the incident and said, “On hearing of the incident, our immediate response was to advise our guest to file a police complaint against the concerned staff member of the Burlingtons’ store. The person concerned is not an employee of the hotel. We have assisted the guest in the process of filing the FIR. We will cooperate with the police in their investigation and will support our guest in every way possible.”

With the name of one of the city’s topmost hotels involved in the controversy, none of the policemen wished to come on record. Deputy Commissioner Of Police (Zone-I) Ravindra Shishve declined to divulge the facts, saying, “A big name involved in the matter. I cannot comment on the issue.” 

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