In an appalling incident, a young woman undergoing training at Daulatrao Jadhav Jail Officers Training College in Yerawada was alleged molested by Nivrutti Chonde, vice-principal of the institute. Despite complaining about the incident to the higher authorities, no action was initiated against the accused who continues to hold the position and still purportedly subjects the victim to mental and physical harassment.
Fed up with the ongoing harassment during the training sessions, the victim finally decided to put in her papers and sent her resignation to Additional Director General of Police (Prison) Meeran Borwankar.
After receiving the resignation on June 24, the authorities have initiated the inquiry in the case.
Speaking to MiD DAY, Borwankar said, “We have received the woman’s letter and have initiated an inquiry.” However, it has been learnt that no action has been taken against Chonde yet, and that he still continued to hold the office.
In her letter, a copy of which is in MiD DAY’s possession, the woman has alleged that Chonde would often stare at her inappropriately and would even stalk her. During the training, Chonde had even molested her in the classroom.
According to a highly-placed source in the college, a few months ago, two instructors of the institute were accused of harassing women trainees. But the women didn’t complain about them to the higher authorities. As no one came forward to file a complaint, Chonde too got plucky and started harassing her.
When she complained about him to her superiors, they pacified her and persuaded her not to pursue to matter any further, the source said.
“During an exam that was held in April, Chonde again touched her inappropriately, following which she complained to the State Women Commission (SWC), alerted senior officials, and sought information on Chonde through an RTI application,” said the source.
Once Chonde came to know about this, he started harassing her and often penalised her during the physical training. He even allegedly warned her that she has done a grave mistake by complaining against him, and that he won’t spare her.
The hearing on the matter by SWC was held in Mumbai yesterday. Shomita Biswas, member secretary of SWC said that the complainant remained absent during the enquiry. “The Commission will take suo motto cognizance and will instruct the principal of institute to conduct inquiry into this.” However, the victim said that she didn’t receive any letter from commission asking her to remain present.
Despite repeated attempts, Chonde remained unavailable for comment.
— Inputs by Sandip Kolhatkar, Anup Satphale and Kaumudi Gurjar