St Stephen's molestation case: Victim 'denied' lab access, college alleges vandalism attempt

New Delhi: The St Stephen's research scholar who was allegedly molested by a college professor, today said that she was denied access to the laboratory, even as the college principal termed it "as a constructive controversy" and "vandalism attempt".

The victim also alleged that she was denied payment of her stripend and when she forcefully tried to enter the laboratory where she was conducting her research, she was locked by an attendant following which she had to call the police.

The college authority meanwhile has approached the police alleging vandalism and attempts to trespass the campus by students accompanying her.

"There has been a regrettable act of vandalism and trespass in the college premises. The Delhi police is currently investigating the matter," College spokesperson Karen Gabriel said.

While police officials confirmed of having received the call and visiting the campus but denied that the laboratory was found locked.

"Today when I went to the college to inquire about the release of my stipend, I was told by the concerned official in the college office that since Satish Kumar (her PhD supervisor) has not given his approval, the stipend could not be released," the victim alleged.

"Further, when I tried to enter the laboratory the attendant refused to let me in after checking with Kumar over phone.

"I somehow forcefully entered but the attendant locked me from outside following which I called the police," she added. She was accompanied by Devansh Mehta, the philosophy student who had taken the principal Valson Thampu to court after he had suspended him for publishing an e-zine without seeking clearance on its content.

Responding to the allegations, Thampu told PTI, "This is another constructed controversy. I had personally handed over the stipend cheque to her in December, the cheque in question today is for the next six months, which has not been issued as the documents need her PhD guide's signature and he is not available as I had "advised" him not to visit the college".

"The allegations that she was denied access to the laboratory are baseless..such are attempts by vested interests and then they would say college is always embroiled in controversies," Thampu said.

Police officials said that they have not received any written complaint in this regard. "We have not received any written complaint in this regard, we had got a call from the girl following which we visited the campus but she was not found locked inside and the laboratory was open," a senior police official said.

The victim had approached police last month alleging that she was molested by Satish Kumar, an assistant professor in college's Chemistry Department. She had also accused Thampu of "shielding" the teacher when the matter was reported to him. She had also made public a set of recordings which she claimed to have made during her meetings with the principal over the issue.

Thampu, who had offered to resign if charges were proved against him, had also claimed that he was being "chased like an animal".

This morning he vented out his anger about the "constructed drama" on his Facebook page, only to remove it later.

"The very first thing which smells of controversy is why did Devansh Mehta go with the girl in the first place? What he has to do with the issue? There are vested interests who are using the victim for character assassination of the college and are now even Mehta is at their hands," Thampu had said in the post.

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