Mumbai: Sexually harassed airport staffer lodges FIR against senior

A 32-year-old woman security officer filed a police complaint against MIAL-GVK employee Lalsingh Bhandari (38) on June 18, claiming that he has been subjecting her to mental and sexual harassment for a year now; Sahar cops say arrests are yet to be made as the investigation is on

Despite a case being registered against the senior security manager of the MIAL-GVK at the international airport by his junior on June 18, officials from Sahar police station are yet to arrest Lalsingh Bhandari (38). In her complaint, the 32-year-old woman accused Bhandari of subjecting her to mental and sexual harassment for the last one year.

Lalsingh Bhandari
Lalsingh Bhandari

Speaking to mid-day the complainant said, “It started a year ago, after I committed a small error while on duty. He summoned me to his cabin, claiming he wanted to talk about it. However, he started leching at me the moment I entered and even tried to touch me. Though it went on for a while, I ignored his behaviour thinking that it would end soon. But one day he crossed his limits.

Since my ex-husband used to work for the same company in the night shift, he (Bhandari) asked me how do I spend my nights in his absence.” The woman also accused Bhandari of insulting her following a miscarriage. “Ours was a love marriage. While my husband’s Punjabi, I’m a Bengali.

The day I resumed work after suffering a miscarriage, Bhandari summoned me to his cabin. Instead of offering his sympathies, he said that a woman like me wasn’t fit to bear a Punjabi child because they are
naturally healthy.” She further claimed that he passed obscene comments after she split with her husband.

“One day, he called me to his cabin and asked ‘now how will you take care of your sex life?’ His remark shook me to the core. If this wasn’t enough, a few days later he groped me in his cabin while we were discussing my appraisal. When I got up from my seat to leave the cabin, he forced me back on the chair. I somehow pushed him away and ran out of the cabin.”

The complainant said that since then she has never met Bhandari in his cabin. She claimed all her attempts to take up the issue with the higher authorities and the HR failed, as no one paid heed to her allegations. “In fact, I was transferred to another department on June 1 without prior notice or justification. I never compromised for this job, and I think I’m paying the price for it. But none of this will crush my spirit; I’m going to fight till I get justice.”

Cop speak
Senior Inspector Prashant Marde from Sahar police station said, “Based on her complaint, we registered an FIR against the accused and booked him under Sections 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to
outrage her modesty) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman). No one has been arrested so far, as the investigation is still on. The accused has applied for anticipatory bail.”

The other side
Speaking to mid-day, an MIAL spokesperson said, “The company has a zero-tolerance policy towards any form of harassment of women employees. In this particular case, no complaint has been lodged with the Internal Complaint Committee. In matters pertaining to sexual harassment, victims are requested to immediately lodge complaints with the committee so that it can take appropriate action at the earliest.”

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