Mumbai: Female bus attendant who filed molestation complaint leaves city fearing her safety
Survivor's lawyer claims complainant has left Mumbai as she fears for her well-being; school denies any pressure or intimidation
A female school bus attendant, who has filed a molestation complaint against the transport manager Rajesh Marathe, of a top school, with the Powai police, has left the city for her home town in the north of the country.
The molestation survivor's lawyer, Adil Khatri claimed that the woman approached him, "through my non-profit called Jai Ho Foundation. I am going to fight her case. I took up the case only a couple of days ago, the victim approached me because though the First Information Report (FIR) has been filed on April 26 the accused was not arrested. He has applied for anticipatory bail."
Fear and pressure
When Khatri was asked why the victim has left the city, instead of pursuing the matter in Powai where she has filed a complaint, he said, "She is not needed here after filing the complaint. I am representing her." The Mumbai lawyer cited that, "the complainant said she fears for her well-being after filing a complaint. She added that the school is very powerful and influential and she was wary of the repercussions if she stayed here. She has left the city for these reasons."
Transport manager and accused Marathe says, "I applied and have got anticipatory bail. These allegations are completely false. There are so many female attendants at this school; there has not been any complaint. The complainant claims she has been working with the school since the past three years. That is not true. She has been working for one year only. The Powai police have my letter to the effect that they can call me for an inquiry or any investigation at any time. I am surprised at these allegations against me. Why me? I think this may have to do with some Union matter." When asked whether he meant Union rivalry, Marathe said, "I do not know exactly what."
The woman had approached cops in April-end, alleging she was molested by Marathe. She claimed she has been working with the school for the past three years, and in the last four months, Marathe touched her inappropriately thrice during work hours. Based on her statement, the police registered a case under section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and they have been investigating. Khatri though is angry that the police did not move quickly after registering an FIR, saying they would have been quicker to do so, "if the complainant had been a celebrity."
The school says
Meanwhile, the school principal flatly denied that there was any pressure from the school on the attendant. "In fact, when we received the complaint of the survivor through the Kamgaar (Union), we suspended Marathe. We fully sympathize with the complainant and we will co-operate with all inquiries, that is our firm stand," said the principal, adding, "The school has an internal complaints committee too, which has not received a complaint letter from the survivor. The committee is for investigating complaints of sexual harassment. We have sent her a letter to approach the in-house committee which she has not done yet. I do not have a clue if she has left the city. We are following all laws and procedures for complaints of this nature."
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